Hornets vs. Nuggets Series Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
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One of the hottest teams in the league takes on a team trying to find its rythym. The Denver Nuggets won 14 of their last 17 regular season games to jump to the #2 seed in the Western Conference. The New Orleans Hornets have battled injury problems all year. Center Tyson Chandler has been dealing with a lingering ankle injury and could effect his defense against a Nuggets team that averaged 104.3 points per game this year.
The Chauncey Billips-Chris Paul matchup should be terrific. Billips has great playoff experience as he’s won a Championship and MVP trophy with the Pistons. Paul can do just about anything he wants. Score, rebound, and pass. He’s averaging 22.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 11 assists per game. I’m going to give the edge to Paul, but Billips will be ready for the task.
Another concern for the Hornets is Peja Stojakovic. New Orleans is hoping his back holds up as they will need his outside shooting this series. His 3-point percentage is down to 37% this year because of his bad back. He only had 4 points in 41 minutes in the season finale against San Antonio.
The Nuggets and Hornets split their 4 regular season games. The most recent matchup on March 25th went to the Nuggets 101-88. Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Billips combined for 71 points. The Hornets were only down 1 at halftime despite not having Stojakovic and Chandler. Stojakovic was 10-18 from beyond the arc in the 3 games he played against the Nuggets.
Despite being a 2 vs. 7 matchup, I believe this will be a hard-fought and entertaining series. With even the slightest help, Chris Paul can push this series to 7 games. I’ll give the edge to Denver since they’re playing well and have more depth than the Hornets.
Prediction: Nuggets in 7
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