Of course this is the first non-Deron/Paul match-up between the two teams. The Hornets were hot in December but have struggled to a 9-13 the past two months though and are hanging on to a playoff spot. They're 3 1/2 games up on Houston, so they should be able to hang on. They do have a lot of games against those teams that are right below them though to finish out the season. Most of those are at home so they should have the advantage their.
Of course for Jazz fans, even with the current .500 record that we have now, this would have been a big game with Deron and Paul going head to head. The wind has been taken out of those sails though. We won't even get a Harris/Paul match-up as he's still out with a sore hammy. AK will also be out.
The Hornets are ranked 6th in the league in defense while being ranked 22nd on offense. They're also ranked in the bottom in three-point attempts and 18th in three-point percentage. That means they should go 15-20 tonight.
So what are we watching for? Though the players are still focused on getting to the playoffs, we'll be looking for some solid play from the rookies and watching Al and Sap eat up the Hornets inside.
This could be an even longer night than expected if the Jazz have as poor a night offensively as they did last time.
- At the Hive
- Game thread at 6:45