Arco Arena Showdown: New Orleans Hornets at Sacramento Kings

New Orleans Hornets AT Sacramento Kings
January 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM EST
Opening Line:  New Orleans -6
Current Line:  New Orleans -4.5
Opening Total: 186.5
Current Total: 187.5
Opening Moneyline:  NO -205 / Sac +175
Current Moneyline:  NO -215 / Sac +175

Chris Paul is leading the red hot Hornets, who have won 10 straight

New Orleans comes into tonight’s game as the hottest team in the NBA, winners of their last 10 games.  They started off the season in such fashion, then hit a rough stretch, but appear to have rediscovered their stride of late.  The winning streak represents the longest of the franchise’s history, but Chris Paul isn’t necessarily content with things yet.  “We’re still a work in progress,” said Chris Paul following a victory over Golden State. “Tonight we were aggressive on the defensive end from the jump ball and able to set the tone.”

New Orleans coach Monty Williams echoed Paul’s sentiments, “We’re not going to nitpick, but it’s one of those things where we don’t want to lose our rhythm because we think we’re better than we are.  We’re winning games because we play a certain way. And when we don’t, it doesn’t look good.

Sacramento hasn’t been playing exactly bad Sacramento ball, either.  They shocked the Lakers by 10 points on Friday night, led by rookie DeMarcus Cousins who had a monster game against one of the best frontlines, if not the best, in the NBA.  He recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds and forward Omri Casspi chipped in 20 points of his own.  It’s a positive step for the Kings who have struggled to find any sense of consistency this year.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Orelans’ last 7 games and they are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games and 5-0 SU in their last 5 road games.  The total has gone UNDER in 17 of their last 23 road games and they are 7-1 SU in their last 8 against the Kings.  They are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 against Sacramento and the total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 8 against the Kings.  They are 4-14 SU in their last 18 road games against the Kings and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games against Sacramento.

Sacramento is 6-18 SU in their last 24 games and 5-17 SU in their last 22 at home.  They are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 at home.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 against New Orleans and they are 1-7 SU in their last 8 against the Hornets.  They are also 14-4 SU in their last 18 against New Orleans and the total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 8 home games against the Hornets.

Key Matchups:

Chris Paul vs. Beno Udrih

Udrih is one of the more underrated point guards in the NBA, but I still don’t think he is the kind of player you would want starting on a championship caliber NBA team.  Tyreke Evans relieves him of a lot of the playmaking duties as a combo guard, but Udirh does offer excellent outside shooting and he plays hard.  Unfortunately for Udrih, it takes more than hard play to slow someone like Chris Paul down, who is now entering discussions for the league’s MVP award.  Paul started a little slower than he had in years’ past, but has since found his rhythm and strung together a good stretch of games during the 10 game winning streak.  He suffered a knee injury last year, but there appear to be no lingering effects as he is as quick and lithe as ever.  He’ll pretty much have his way with Udrih tonight and it’s possible Evans switches onto Paul at some point during the game.

Emeka Okafor vs. DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins went head first into the NBA game and the result was a lot of turnovers and poor shots, but that was early on.  Evidenced by his huge 27 point game against the Lakers, he has begun to grasp the concepts that are required to be an effective NBA player.  Okafor is a bit undersized as he is truly about 6’6 or 6’7 against the 6’11” Cousins, but Okafor find a way to stick with taller players so he could slow Cousins down tonight, but probably won’t be able to shut him down per se.  Okafor won’t offer much resistance on the offensive end, which will allow Cousins to save his energy for the offensive end of the game, and that could spell trouble for the Hornets.

Tonight’s game is probably going to be a pretty close one, despite the Hornets’ stellar play of late.  The Kings do have talent; it’s just a matter of getting a level of consistency and being able to play hard for 48 minutes and hold onto leads when they get them.

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