Who: Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers
When: 3:30 p.m. EST
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
TV: Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Southeast
The Charlotte Hornets have started off the 2016-17 season as one of the best squads in the Eastern Conference. A 6-2 record currently places the Charlotteans in the fourth place in the East, only half a game back from the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors. Moreover, the Hornets are also sporting the third best net rating in the league.
With that in mind, four of Charlotte’s six victories have come against teams outside the top-8 in their respective conference. They still are looking for a win against a marquee opponent.
A visit to the Quicken Loans Arena which hosts the current NBA champions provides Charlotte with such an opportunity.
Charlotte’s basketball teams, however, have had little luck against LeBron James in the past few years. While a few of those teams are quite far from the quality unit that coach Steve Clifford is now running, the franchise has lost an embarrassing 25 out of its 26 last meetings against a team of LeBron’s.
The sole victory of that bunch occurred on February 3, 2016 and it surely is no coincidence that it came during Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s brief seven-game comeback. MKG’s readiness to go might have a huge effect on this particular game as well.
All in all, rookie Treveon Graham did a solid job on defense against the Toronto Raptors and the league’s leading scorer in DeMar DeRozan. Nonetheless, Graham was still tricked into three and-ones on jumpers by DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Besides, putting the undrafted first-year man on possibly the best player in the game sounds sub-optimal.
Kidd-Gilchrist — who missed Friday’s bout against Toronto with a sore lower back despite being listed as “probable” — clearly is the man for the assignment of LeBron James.
Meanwhile, the duel of the point guards promises to be equally compelling. Both Kemba Walker (25.9PPG) and Kyrie Irving (24.5PPG) are the high point men on their team and are scoring at a career-high rate.
For those keeping track of possible historical achievements, the Charlotte Hornets are still capable of reaching one despite Friday night’s loss against the Toronto Raptors. A win against Cleveland and thus a 7-2 start to the season would be the best in franchise history and would surpass 6-3 starts in 1993-94 and 1997-98.