Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
When: 8:00 pm ET
How: Fox Sports Southeast, WFNZ 610 AM
Which Charlotte Hornets team will show up in New Orleans on Friday night? That has to be the question on the minds of all Hornets fans, and probably their coach Steve Clifford too, coming off a resounding annihilation of the 4th place Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. The Hornets, who'd lost the previous seven games and won exactly zero games in 2016 before Wednesday, opened up with a 17-2 run and led by as many as 34 against Atlanta. What?? If anyone saw that coming, please tell me you're the genius-prophet that won the Powerball as well.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, snapped a losing streak of their own Wednesday night, beating the Sacramento Kings 109-97 in Anthony Davis' return from injury. New Orleans sits at 12-26, a record good enough for 13th in the Western Conference, and will clearly be hoping to start a winning streak of their own in hopes of salvaging their season. Last year, the Pelicans snuck into the playoffs on the season's last day only to be swept by the Golden State Warriors, but national media assumed that that series was only the beginning for Davis' crew, anointing him (and simultaneously the Pelicans) the next big thing.
Davis is obviously a world class talent, but his shooting has struggled this year when compared to last, and his 3-point shooting sits at 30%, not enough for a team without other playmakers. Tyreke Evans is questionable for the game after having his surgically repaired right knee drained this week as well, leaving an opportunity for Norris Cole to potentially get the start. It's not a team to be afraid of right now, so the real question, again, is "Which Hornets team will show up?"
As Russell Varner wrote yesterday, big things happened Wednesday night. Several Hornets returned from injury, as Nicolas Batum, Spencer Hawes, and Jeremy Lin all saw major minutes. The team remembered to play defense, holding Atlanta to just 84 points. And Michael Jordan reportedly reminded the team to "get out of their selves and into the team," so there's that.
Whatever happened Wednesday night (and throughout the exciting month of November) needs to happen again on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center. December is gone, this team looks good again, and I don't want to lose this feeling.
(You're welcome / I'm so, so sorry.) Go Hornets.