After a couple days of rest following a tough loss to the Washington Wizards, the San Antonio Spurs are looking to get back on track versus the Charlotte Hornets.
These are not the same Hornets from the past couple years. As they used to have a plodding offensive system predicated on dumping the ball in the post to Al Jefferson every possession, Charlotte is now following the trend of pushing the ball in transition and spacing the floor. After ranking 24th in the league in three-pointers attempted last season, they've shot up all the way to 4th in this short season, at 28.2 per game. They're making a good chunk of them too, cashing in at 36.9% as a team, good for 7th overall.
The Hornets made a lot of roster changes this season, bringing in the likes of Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb, Nicolas Batum, Spencer Hawes, and drafting Frank Kaminsky. Lamb especially has been off to a scorching hot start to this season. He's averaging 14.1 points per game, shooting 60% from the field, and 50% from 3.
Of course, even with some new-found shooting, a bulk of Charlotte's offense still centers around Jefferson. Over the offseason, Big Al lost a lot of weight by changing his eating habits in hopes of making him a more mobile defender and extending his career. While working on his defense is going to take time, his offensive ability is as effective as ever. His usage is down, but his efficiency is up, as he's scoring 16.4 points per game on 56.3% from the field.
For San Antonio, their theme for the game will be the continuing effort to work LaMarcus Aldridge into the offense. The Spurs have looked good when calling set plays, but whenever the team tries to run their flow game, everything becomes disjointed and breaks down. Coach Gregg Popovich has recently come out and said that Aldridge needs to come out and find his shot in the offense, so look for him to be more aggressive in the early stages of the game.
Of course, scoring will be provided steadily throughout the game by fifth-year swingman Kawhi Leonard. He has cemented himself as one of the best two-way players in the NBA in this early season, and has been a rock for the Spurs to rely on when the offense goes south. He's averaging a team-high 21.6 points per game on a solid 50% eFG (which should pick up once his three-pointer starts falling again). Defensively, he's locked up wings like Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony already, and is clearly at the top of his game at that end of the floor. Since the Hornets do not have any huge wing threats on offense, look for Leonard to fly around the ball and create havoc when on defense.
|Spurs at Hornets|
|November 6, 2015|
|7:30 pm CST|
|Tony Parker||PG||Kemba Walker|
|Danny Green||SG||P.J. Hairston|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Nicolas Batum|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||PF||Marvin Williams|
|Tim Duncan*||C||Al Jefferson|
The Hornets' perspective can be found at At The Hive
Game Prediction: Spurs by 6.
As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.