Hornets vs. Nuggets: Gordon, team playing better than record indicates

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets have won more games on the road this season (8) than they have at home (7) and the return of Eric Gordon has helped the team realize the blueprint of the franchise is headed in the right direction.

2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 48
New Orleans Pelicans (2014 - Pres)

vs
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15-31 (8-16 on the road)

1-0 Nuggets

29-18 (19-3 at home)
February 1, 2013 - 7:00 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Greivis Vasquez PG Ty Lawson
Eric Gordon SG Andre Iguodala
Al-Farouq Aminu SF Danilo Gallinari
Anthony Davis PF Kenneth Faried
Robin Lopez C Kosta Koufos
Notes
At the Hive Blogs Denver Stiffs
None Injuries JaVale McGee (shin) day-to-day, Wilson Chandler (groin) probable
Eric Gordon is shooting 37% from three this season on 4.4 attempts per game for the Bugs or Birds Stat Take out the first quarter and Gallo is shooting 41% from three-point land this season (80-195), still he is shooting 37.2% on the season from deep

Eric Gordon has appeared in 14 games this season for the Hornets or Pelicans or whatever they are called right now. He has missed all three games, since his debut on Dec. 29th, that come as the second of a back-to-back (cautionary measures).

The Bugs are 8-6 in games that Gordon plays in and the team has wins over the Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, and Grizzlies in said contests with EG. And in seven of those games Gordon has scored at least 19 points and he is averaging 17.4 points per game on 41% shooting (37% from deep and 84% from the foul line). Gordon also averages 4.4 threes per game and 5.5 free throw attempts - and he does a great job of mixing up his inside-and-outside game.

It's nice to see New Orleans big investment player (four-year $58 million deal) finally back on the floor. But it hasn't been all sunshine for Gordon and the Hornets. In the off-season, he did sign said contract with the Phoenix Suns and asked the Hornets not to match the offer (as a restricted free agent) - the team obviously didn't listen (and why would they?).

One would have to think that the situation has to be looking better for Gordon though. Greivis Vasquez has come aboard and looks like a totally different player than he was as a backup with the Grizzlies. Vasquez is averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 assists per game and is proving to be a very wise investment. Ryan Anderson has continued the success he had in Orlando by nailing an impressive 39% of this 7.7 attempted three pointers per game and rookie Anthony Davis has shown flashes of brilliance (13 ppg and 7.6 rebounds per game).

Lucky for Gordon - I am not him, but if I was I would be much happier in NOLA with the way the team is constructed than I would have been in Phoenix (where the blueprint seems to have coffee spilled on it every few weeks). Perhaps the only swing and miss for NOLA was with rookie Austin Rivers.

Rivers has seen his role with the team slide a bit since Gordon's return, as they are both shooting guards. Rivers' shooting percentages from deep have dropped in each month of the season and he only shot 28% from the field in January. He is just 20 years old (same as Evan Fournier) and will have some time to figure out how to play in the NBA before a determination can be made on him, but it's not looking great for the kid.

At the time of this writing, JaVale McGee is still listed as day-to-day with a bruised shin. Yes, a bruise sounds like something that can be played through, but the big fella underwent an MRI to make sure nothing was broken. So, the injury is worse than the name would indicate - but not as serious as a break.

Wilson Chandler appeared to play just fine against the Rockets and should be able to go again tonight for the Nuggets. One thing is for sure, after games there are more ice packs in the Nuggets locker room now than there were back in November ... season grind is upon the team.

Match-up of the night:

It's tough to pick against Andre Iguodala and Eric Gordon, but with Vasquez being a big point guard at 6'6" and Gordon being 6'3" - we may see Ty Lawson against Gordon at times this evening if he has any issues with the big point guard.

Gordon is a thick man though and likes to use his body to get inside and finish around the rim with contact. Sometimes he can finish in spectacular ways and the Nuggets must pay attention to how his style goes tonight. If he's aggressive and looking to attack, Iguodala would be the better defender, but if he goes into jump shooting mode - the Nuggets could easily put Lawson on him.

These two teams only face each-other one other time this year (after tonight) and this is the first look we'll get at Anthony Davis (and the only look in Denver this season) - so I'm also excited to see what the youngster can do against Kenneth Faried. Two super athletes going head-to-head!

Nuggets News:

In case you had not heard - Julyan Stone has been assigned to the Iowa Energy as of Jan. 30th and Aaron Lopez is actually in Iowa with Stone and Quincy Miller and you can read about that journey - here.

And first practice here.

Video of the trip here - must watch as Stone is a comedian.

***

Denver Nuggets Tickets

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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