Hornets On A Monday Afternoon

The Raptors travel to New Orleans for the MLK Holiday in the United States. It is first match-up between the two since the trade that saw Jarrett Jack moved to Hornets with Banks and Andersen for Bayless and Peja. They come in on a 3 game losing streak with their next 3 games after today against 3 of the best teams in the NBA. The Hornets are also a solid team with a winning record in the very tough Western Conference. This road trip looks to be a tipping point for any of you out there that were holding out hope for a playoff spot. Raptors are a banged up bunch that makes the chances of an upset even tougher. No Barbosa, Weems, Evans, Peja and will see in terms of Bayless.

The Basics: New Orleans 25-16 (15-5 at home) Toronto 13-27 (5-15 on the road)

When Last We Saw Them: The Raptors were in the game with the Wizards. But they got poor performances from DeRozan and Bargnani. The Raptors had a chance to win the game despite that. But they sputtered down the stretch and it was the Wizards taking the win on their home floor.

The Match Ups: Trevor Ariza and Linas Kleiza are 2 very different kinds of small forwards. Ariza the more athletic of the the two and Klezia the size and strength advantage. Klezia has been up and down of late and inconsistent. Former Raptor vs current Raptor as Demar DeRozan hooks up with Marco Belinelli. Marco was traded for Julian Wright and has found a starting roll with Hornets averaging 11 points per game. DeRozan needs a bounce back and has a major advantage in terms of his athleticism and we need to see it today. Obviously Chris Paul should have an advantage over Jose Calderon despite the play of Calderon of late. Bargnani also needs to dominate his match-up with Okafor and to do that he needs to start making shots. His shooting vs the Wizards has as bad as when I use him in NBA 2K11 and trust me that is VERY BAD.

Other Things Of Note: This game is a 2pm local start (3pm Toronto time) for the MLK Holiday in the U.S. Raptors are on a 2 game winning streak vs Hornets despite a terrible all time record vs Hornets of 18-29 and 8-15 on the road in Charlotte/New Orleans. Raptors are 4-9 vs the West this season and just 1-6 on the road vs the West. We are almost to the half way point of the season and the Raptors have yet to play a game that has went to overtime. Not that I expect it to happen today. Hornets have won 7 of their last 9 games and 4 straight heading into today.

Where Is It On? Sportsnet 1 (3pm tip) Replay on NBATV-CANADA at 7pm (For those of you that have to work)

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