Hornets vs Suns, 4.8.11

The PLAYOFF BOUND Hornets (45-33, 27-12 at home) host the Phoenix Suns (38-40, 17-22 on the road) tonight. The Hornets are currently the sixth seed, but MUST continue to win if they hope to preserve that spot and avoid the Lakers/Spurs. The good news is they are facing a suns team that has lost seven of its past ten and, with no hope of making the playoffs, are focusing on "developing" their youngsters. The Suns and Hornets have met three times already this season. All three games were pretty tight, but the Hornets won two of the three (and it could have been three if not for a missed goal tending call in the loss).

Key Matchups

Chris Paul vs Steve Nash

Nash is a bit banged up, and he sat for the entire second and fourth quarters in the Suns last game. They've had an extra day off since then, so he probably won't sit that much, but look for the Phoenix star to play slightly less minutes than normal. Aaron Brooks will pick up the minutes Nash gives up, and while Brooks is an offense firecracker, he's a liability on the defensive end and will likely get burned by CP3. Even when Nash is on the court, he might have trouble against the tough Bee D and CP#- he's averaging just 7 points per game against the Hornets (by far his lowest average against any team this season), while Paul is averaging almost 25 points per game against the Suns (his highest total this season).

Emeka Okafor vs Marcin Gortat

Gortat has demolished the Hornets so far this year, averaging over 17 points per game (20 for 32 shooting) and almost 10 boards. He's been a great pickup for the Suns this season (in complete contrast to the dead weight known as Vince Carter), and if the Hornets can shut him down, they'll have a great shot at winning this game.

Prediction

The Hornets are 5 point favorites. A lot of teams would take their foot of the gas after overcoming all the obstacles the Hornets have had this season to lock up a playoff bid.... but not this one. The Hornets push the gas a little harder and blowout a Suns team ready to hit the golf course.

Hornets 103, Suns 92

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