Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah.
When: 9:00 p.m. EST
TV: Fox Sports Southeast.
Charlotte continues their west coast road trip against a meddling Utah Jazz team. The thing about this current Utah team is they're like "Hornets West" with key injuries to multiple players. They haven't been effectively able play their defensive front court of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert most of the season; who would bully the Marvin Williams-Spencer Hawes smaller lineup. Gobert's presence alone can scare off many Kemba Walker or Jeremy Lin. Though with Favors' absence the Jazz are forced to play Trey Lyles at the four. He gives the Jazz a strong stretch-four that allows Utah a greater floor geometry and room for guys like Trey Burke and Rodney Hood space to attack. Trey Burke dropped 25 points against Charlotte the last time they played. With starting point guard Raul Neto out because of a concussion against Detroit. Burke will have the opportunity the chance to play big minutes against Charlotte because he and newly signed Erick Green will be the only remaining point guards on the roster. Gordon Hayward continues along as the go to scoring option for Utah, and in the last meeting with the Hornets he poured 36 points all over the Hornets' defense. It has been yet to be seen if Derrick Favors will come off the bench or will start. Either way he's a tough matchup for Tyler Hansbrough and Frank Kaminsky.
Charlotte as always will need solid games from every player. Kemba Walker looks to recover to form after an abysmal 5-25 shooting performance. I would be shocked if Troy Daniels repeated anything close to his 28 point performance (including an incredible 8-11 from behind the three point arc), but a man can dream. It's obvious the Hornets are limping forward without all their usual offensive firepower in guys like Nicolas Batum, Al Jefferson, and Jeremy Lamb. What will be interesting to see is how Coach Clifford rotates guys in with less offensive skill like Tyler Hansbrough and Brian Roberts. Finally, the most interesting plot point of this game is how PJ Hairston will recover after a poor game in Sacramento. I just want PJ to find the consistency he and Coach Clifford are looking for.
I can see this game going any number of ways, and it remains interesting to see how the hobbled Hornets handle all the injuries they face.