Where: Spectrum Center
When: 7:00 pm EST
How to Watch: ESPN!!!!!
After a hot start to the season, the Charlotte Hornets find themselves in mid-hiccup, losing the last two very winnable games to both New Orleans and Memphis in uninspiring fashion.
No better way to get back on the horse however, than against one of the league’s more consistently great teams — the San Antonio Spurs. Especially when they’re coming off their own lackluster showing against the hobbled Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
On the plus side, America will be introduced to the Hornets via the magic of nationally televised broadcasts, as the game will be shown on ESPN — that special time Charlotte Hornets fan experience once a year when they get the national narrative on just how good or bad their team is doing. Also, a great opportunity for both Kemba Walker and Nic Batum to really make a push in the early All-Star conscience of the fans that may not be all too familiar with their game.
The Spurs come into the contest undefeated while on the road this year, yet barely over .500 at home. Kawhi Leonard continues to be a monster on both sides of the floor, while new(ish) talent like Dewayne Dedmon has been able to at least partially fill in the roles of the one-time great big man who retired over the summer an now may-or-may-not own a bodyshop.
For the Hornets, it looks like the lack of Cody Zeller out there is hurting. While both Frank Kaminsky and Roy Hibbert have attributes of Zeller, the active screening, hustle defense, and passing ability cannot be replicated in the form of either one. In some ways, it’s as though this new-and-improved version of Zeller — who also just so happens to lead the league in field goal percentage — has become the good luck version of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. As in, when he’s in they win, and when he’s not, oh well.
The Spurs will be a tough out for the Hornets — especially given the injuries to both Zeller and Lamb, but if Marvin Williams can break out of his slump and Kemba does his thing, we may just see a glimpse of just how competitive the Hornets can be, amongst some of the league’s best.