Trevor Ariza

Do the Hornets have the worst shot selection in the league?

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Ryan Schwan of Hornets 24/7 thinks so:

Over at hoopdata.com there is a wonderful statistic called XeFG%…

[The X] stands for “expected”.  Hoopdata keeps track of how well players shoot from different ranges and calculates the NBA average from each of those ranges.  Armed with that information, the site can determine what the expected eFG% is for each type of shot in the NBA.  For example, they know that the average eFG% for a shot taken from 10-15 feet away from the basket is 39.2%.

So how do these numbers tell us the Hornets have the Worst Shot selection?  Hoopdata tracks the type of shots the Hornets take, and here’s the percentage of their shots from each distance.

Team At Rim <10 Feet 10-15 Feet 16-23 Feet 3-Pointers
NOR 25.6% 15.3% 10.7% 28.9% 19.3%

That particular set of shots is expected to generate an eFG% of 48.4%, which is the worst in the league.

Schwan goes on to explain that the Hornets take fewer shots at the rim than almost any other team, are in the bottom third in the league in three-point attempts, and take a ton of long two-point jumpers, which are universally far less efficient than shots at the rim and three-point attempts.

The one thing XeFG% doesn’t cover is free-throw attempts, but New Orleans only ranks 14th in free-throw rate, which isn’t nearly enough to make up for its inefficient shot selection. When Chris Paul was the runner-up for the MVP award in the 2007-08 season, the Hornets were second in the league in offensive efficiency, but they haven’t been an elite offensive team for some time now, and currently rank 18th in offensive efficiency. A healthy Chris Paul can still run an offense as well as anybody, but it’s clear that the Hornets need to incorporate some new offensive wrinkles in order to get better shots.

Heat players past, present throw support behind David Fizdale heading to Memphis

David Fizdale
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The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.

It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.

Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.

Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.

Watch Kevin Love drop 25 points on Toronto

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Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.

Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.

Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?

Cavaliers’ defense foundation for blowout win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gestures in the second half against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Cleveland blitzed Toronto from the opening tip.

Literally.

Cleveland cranked up their defensive pressure by getting back to aggressively blitzing Raptors’ guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan every time they came off a pick. Or they would chase DeRozan over the top of the pick and trail him, never letting him get comfortable to pull up from the midrange. Whatever the defensive scheme, the Cavaliers were physical with Lowry and DeRozan — the pair was 4-of-14 shooting in the first half.

From the start, the Cavaliers defense dictated the flow of the game and set the tone for a 38-point blowout win.

It is that defense they will need to close out this series on the road Friday night.

“We understood that coming back from Game 3 and Game 4 we just didn’t play our defense the right way,” LeBron James said after the game. “We didn’t play how we should have played, and they took advantage of every moment. We had to get back to our staple; we had to get back to what we wanted to do defensively in order for us to play a complete game. That’s the most satisfying thing, the way we defended, holding these guys to 39 percent shooting.”

Defense triggered the offensive runs by the Cavaliers in the first half — Cleveland had eight steals and scored 20 points off turnovers before halftime. Playing with a renewed energy, the Cavs did a fantastic job fighting over screens and disrupting plays, and they closed out on shooters at the arc. It was their best defensive game of the series. It was the polar opposite of how they played in Toronto.

“I think our intensity picked up, our aggressiveness picked up, we were very physical to start the game and it just kind of led to us getting out in transition, us getting steals and getting easy baskets,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.

“They were locked in, from the start to the finish,” according to Raptors coach Dwane Casey.”The force that they play with is different here and we didn’t meet it.”

Back home and with their backs against the wall, you can expect a very different, very desperate Raptors team. Lowry and DeRozan will shoot better.

But if the Cavaliers pack their defense and take it north of the border this time, they should close out the series.

LeBron James was dunking all over the Raptors (VIDEO)

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With their defense creating turnovers to get breaks — and the Raptors’ defense just breaking down — the Cavaliers put on a dunking exhibition against Toronto Wednesday.

LeBron James led the way, with 23 points and plenty of dunks. Here is another.

To change things up, here is an and-1.