Who: Charlotte Hornets (4-5) at Golden State Warriors (6-2)
When: Saturday, November 15 at 10:30 p.m.
Where: Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
Watch: SportSouth, NBA League Pass
The Hornets aren't happy with their start to the season. They came in looking to build on last year's success, and their offseason moves and internal improvements suggested that was a very reasonable goal. Unfortunately, the Hornets currently sit at 4-5 on the season, which ties them for the eighth seed with the Milwaukee Bucks -- yes, those Milwaukee Bucks -- if the playoffs were to start today.
On the season, the Hornets are allowing 98.3 points per game while only putting up 97.1. Conversely, their opponents tonight, the Golden State Warriors, are allowing 97.6 points per game while putting up 104.8. That mark of 97.6 points allowed is good for 11th in the league, and is indicative of a solid, albeit not great defense. On the flip side, the Warriors' mark of 104.8 points per game is ranked seventh, but don't be fooled -- the Warriors are among the most explosive offensive teams in the league.
That's in large part because of their backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, amicably nicknamed the Splash Brothers. They're ranked fourth and fifth in the NBA, respectively, in points per game this season. Thompson in particular is putting up career highs in every statistic despite playing less minutes than he did last season. Through eight games, he's averaging 24.7 points on a true shooting percentage of 61(!) percent, along with 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
If the Hornets are to win against the Warriors tonight, they absolutely must contain the Warriors' backcourt. Both Curry and Thompson are capable of going off for 40 on any given night, and that makes it difficult to help on one without letting the other make it rain. Kemba Walker is quick enough to stay with Curry, but struggles with screens -- something Curry uses a lot of. Thompson will be a difficult task for whoever's on him tonight.
While the Hornets and Warriors might appear to be in different tiers, this game is winnable for the Hornets. Andrew Bogut may give Al Jefferson some trouble in the post, but he's lost a step and won't be able to stop him altogether. Curry and Thompson are both underrated defenders, but will struggle with the Hornets' quickness in the backcourt.
Can the Hornets get two wins in a row?