New Orleans (3-0) got the first statement win it needed in the early year, playing a good Denver squad tough to the end. Especially of note is the job they did on the Nuggets’ all-stars; Nuggets’ guards Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony were held to 16-49 shooting .
1. Shooting (√) This was the first game the Hornets struggled from the floor, highlighted (lowlighted?) by Peja’s 1-8 night from downtown. But some good bench shooting (Butler, Jackson 6-10) offset some of that. Most impressive though was the 38.9 eFG% Denver was held to. The Hornets will struggle from time to time with their shot this year, but the fact that they so thoroughly shut down Denver shooting is very promising.
2. Turnovers (√) The turnover battle was almost dead even, with both teams falling in the 15-16 range (just about league average). Nothing spectacular here, and the game certainly wasn’t decided by the turnover factor.
3. Offensive Rebounding (X) The Hornets get a red X for this factor mainly because the OREB% declined for the second straight game. Granted, the Hornets were matched up against a very tough frontline (Camby, Hilario, Martin), but the opponent OREB% also crept up this game. The Hornets should make sure that the slowly declining OREB figures don’t become a trend.
4. Free Throws (√) The Hornets got to the line a good deal this game, and finished at a 73% clip. That’s certainly not an eye-popping stat, but this is great improvement after last year’s terrible FG/FA numbers.
5. Pace (99) You don’t often see a team so clearly establish its tempo upon another team and still end up losing, but that’s exactly what happened to Denver tonight. A pace of 99 is way above what the Hornets aim for night in and night out, and relatively close to the high-octane Denver attack. Still, the fact that Denver shot so poorly pretty much doomed their night, regardless of how many looks they had at the hoop.
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