Game Night: Sixers @ Hornets
Wednesday, November 7, 8:00 PM (EST) at New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
TV: Comcast SportsNet and ESPN Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: Comcast SportsNet HD is now on XFinity® Channel 847
by Warren Croxton and Max Rappaport
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
F Ryan Anderson vs. F Thaddeus Young
Ryan Anderson had a banner year last season (16.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG), leading the league in three-pointers made and winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award. The five-year veteran came to New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal with the Orlando Magic this summer. Last season, he started more than 30 games for the first time in his career, but in his new team’s first two games this season, Anderson came off the bench. However, a head injury to this year’s first-overall pick, Anthony Davis (OUT), caused the Hornets to insert Anderson into the starting lineup Saturday. In that lone start, the 24-year-old put together his first double-double of the season (he notched 14 in 2011-12), with 12 points and 13 boards.
Sixer forward Thaddeus Young also accomplished his first double-double of the season in his most-recent game, scoring 14 and pulling down 10 rebounds in an 88-110 loss to the New York Knicks Monday. The 24-year-old is playing more minutes per game this season (34.0) than he has since 2008-09 (34.4); he's played fewer than 30 minutes per game in each of his prior two seasons under head coach Doug Collins, for whom he has served as an energy player off the bench.
During the offseason, Young added just over 20 pounds of muscle to his frame in an attempt to bolster his effectiveness in the post, and, despite a limited sample size, it’s shown. After attempting 65.8% of his 687 attempts from inside the paint last season, he’s boosted that number to 76.3% through the first three games of the 2012-13 season.
Ryan Anderson figures to get a fair amount of run on a nightly basis in New Orleans, whether it's as a reserve or as a starter, and the Sixers will surely be keeping a close eye on him in this game. The 6-10 forward averaged 22.3 points (63.4 FG%) and 12.7 rebounds in three games against Philly last season (as a member of the Magic).
In 2011-12, 56% of Anderson’s shot attempts came from beyond the three-point line; amazingly, only 14% of his attempts fell within 3-23 feet. If the Sixers can limit the 2011-12 three-point champ’s ability to dictate his shot selection and force attempts from midrange, it could help dampen his offensive impact Wednesday.
A Quick Rebuild
After trading away the player who had been the face of their franchise for nearly a decade, All-Star point guard Chris Paul, just prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, the New Orleans Hornets struggled to develop an identity. The team finished the year with a 21-45 record, good for third-worst in the NBA. Despite their regular season misfortune, the Hornets' luck took a fortunate turn in late May, as they won the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery and the opportunity to acquire the prize of the draft – big man Anthony Davis. The team also used the 10th-overall selection on highly touted Duke guard Austin Rivers (son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers).
The Hornets, under new ownership (Tom Benson), were not content with simply welcoming their exciting, new rookie duo and calling it an offseason. They re-signed promising young guard Eric Gordon (currently OUT while recovering from an ongoing knee injury), whom the team acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the previous offseason's Chris Paul blockbuster, traded for the 2011-12 season's Most Improved Player, Ryan Anderson (from ORL), and filled out their roster with valuable utility big man Robin Lopez (from PHO).
In the first half of Friday's win over the Utah Jazz, the Hornets' newly acquired pillar, Anthony Davis, suffered a mild concussion, after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from teammate Austin Rivers. Davis did not make Saturday's trip to Chicago, staying back in New Orleans. The 6-10 rookie cannot return to action until completing a series of concussion-related tests.
Accoring to Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com, Davis has been ruled OUT for this game. Austin Rivers (sprained left index finger) is also listed as OUT.
LAST TIME THEY MET
1/4/2012 - Sixers 101, Hornets 93
After being outscored by 11 points in the first quarter, the Sixers finished the game's final three quarters +19, departing the Crescent City with an eight-point victory. The win was the second of what would eventually be a six-game win streak to give the team a 7-2 start.
Guard Jrue Holiday went 4-of-8 from downtown and led all scorers with 23 points. Swingman Evan Turner scored 21 (on 8-of-12 shooting) off the bench, and was one of six Sixers to reach double figures in scoring. Former Sixer forward Elton Brand finished with a double double – 12 points and 12 rebounds, while big man Spencer Hawes dropped 17 points. Hornets guard Eric Gordon led his team in scoring, with 22 points.