Things have been rough for the Charlotte Hornets lately. A week ago, the team was five games above .500 and feeling good. Kemba Walker had cemented himself as an elite point guard and it looked like the team’s role players were on a hot streak.
Since then, however, things have gone downhill. And fast.
The Hornets have lost their touch on offense and their attention to detail on defense. They’ve shot a hair over 40 percent over their last four games and are allowing an uncharacteristic 110.9 points per 100 possessions. And with Kemba dealing with what appears to be a nagging injury, things won’t get any easier.
Thankfully, the Atlanta Hawks are doing so well either. They’ve won just three of their last 10 games despite shooting a solid 45.8 percent from the field. They’re losing because they’re giving up 113.1 points per game over that 10-game stretch. So if the Hornets have any chance to get their offense back on track, it might be against the Hawks.
The Hawks were banking on wing Kent Bazemore having a career year, but he’s seriously underperformed this season. He shot 33.7 percent from the field on nearly 12 shots per game over his last 10 appearances, and it’s not clear why. Kyle Korver is also struggling mightily and was recently relegated to a bench role in an attempt to get the team back on track.
The only Hawks not doing terribly, it seems, are Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap. And that’s worrisome.
There’s little doubt Cody Zeller is as strong as ever, but he’s still no match for Howard’s raw power and athleticism. It will likely take a group effort for Howard to have a poor game, and come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea. After all, most of the roster is doo-doo right now.
The Hornets beat the Hawks back in November, 100-96, and shouldn’t have much trouble beating them again tonight, particularly if Kemba plays. Keeping Howard and Millsap in check should be the Hornets’ primary goal, as the Hawks aren’t shooting all that well from behind the arc these days. That said, they’ve shot just well enough to win three of their last four games.
Let’s get back on track, fellas.
Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.