NEW ORLEANS — Before Tuesday’s preseason game against Charlotte at New Orleans Arena, New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams said he liked that his team would play consecutive games against the Bobcats, particularly now.
Williams said the inherent familiarity in such an arrangement could provide somewhat of a playoff feel, certainly by the second game, and another teaching tool.
“We know what they’re going to run,” Williams said. “They may throw a few wrinkles out there, but familiarity is pretty good for us because it’s like practice. . . . It’s almost like those football teams who scrimmage.”
After Tuesday’s 97-82 dominating victory over Charlotte in the Hornets’ preseason opener, it might not appear there’s much to gain in the rematch. However, it switches to a home game for the Bobcats – in Charleston, S.C., tonight – so things could be different. After that, the Hornets fly to Houston to play the Rockets on Friday. That game, he said, may tell him something about his team.
“In back-to-backs, you want to see how the young guys react,” he said. “They don’t play back-to-backs in college. So we’ll be looking at that, and obviously you want to see guys gets themselves up for the games. It can be tough to travel for two or three hours, and you don’t get to bed until 3 or 4 o’clock (a.m.), so that’s a skill in itself to get yourself ready for the next game. So we’ll be looking at a number of things.”
In Tuesday’s game, rookies Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Darius Miller all played well. Davis was impressive with 22 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot, and Rivers scored 13 points and seemed comfortable when playing point guard in spurts, as Williams continues to ease him into what eventually will become his position.
And, Miller again played well in limited time, something that was not lost on Williams. In 12 minutes of playing time, Miller, a small forward from Kentucky, shot 3-of-4 in scoring eight points, including 2-of-3 on 3-point attempts. In Sunday’s preseason opener against Orlando, he played just 7 minutes, 38 seconds but shot 3-of-4 and scored five points, including a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
That has Williams pondering more playing time for Miller.
The Hornets hit the road for the back-to-backs perhaps encouraged if not confident, as they are quick to remind that it’s the preseason and they’ve only played two games. Nevertheless, two players rebounded to play much better Tuesday than they did in the preseason opener.
Ryan Anderson shot 1-of-11, including 1-of-8 on 3-point attempts against the Magic, his former team, but bounced back with 5-of-6 3-point shooting against the Bobcats. Starting point guard Greivis Vasquez, who had five turnovers in the opener, had 11 assists against Charlotte, with only two turnovers.
Power forward Jason Smith is the Hornets’ backup center, but he’s still nursing a back injury after a hard fall against Orlando.
That may necessitate Anderson, a power forward, playing backup center in the next two games.
“(This season), I may play some four, five and three,” Anderson said. “But I played backup center during my years with Orlando.”
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