Round one did not go how the Hornets hoped it would. They have a chance to flip the script less than 24 hours later.
Following a 113-111 overtime defeat on Friday night to the New York Knicks, the Charlotte Hornets hope for better luck on Saturday as the scene for round two shifts to the friendly confines of Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
Let’s start with the bad news - there is no word yet on Marvin Williams’ availability for tonight after hyper-extending his left knee in the defeat last night. In addition, chances are Carmelo Anthony is still knocking down shots as you read this, following his strong 35 point, 14 rebound performance that no one could slow down. Anthony is now averaging 27.1 points per game against Charlotte, tied for his highest against any opponent. Plus, there is still the issue of trying to control the boards - particularly when Charlotte is on defense - against the length of New York’s frontcourt (have you heard how big Kristaps Porzingis is? He’s kind of huge).
Oh, and there’s the entire four-game losing streak that Charlotte now finds itself on.
Now onto the good news - Charlotte could have very easily won that game last night. The Hornets shot an uncharacteristically low 27.6% from deep and an awful 63.0% from the free throw line. The Hornets can hopefully avoid getting in the early foul trouble that saw Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller sent to the bench for more of the first half than they are accustomed to. Finally, the Hornets are 4-4 at home this season, while the Knicks are just 1-5 on the road this season.
The Hornets are in the midst of a brutal four games in five days stretch, with games against Memphis and Detroit on the horizon. A victory tonight would go a long way to ease any concerns fans have, as well as help the Hornets down the road with any potential playoff tiebreakers with New York (it’s not too early to start thinking about playoffs, is it?).