When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
TV: Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Florida and Sun, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets return home to play the Miami Heat on the second game of a back-to-back. After a tough loss to Brooklyn Nets on Monday, the Hornets blew out the Orlando Magic last night, and are now winners of five of the past six games. Given last night’s blowout, the Hornets starters will have more rest under them than normal, as a number of starters sat during the fourth quarter against Orlando.
They face a Heat team at a crossroads. After being an Eastern Conference power for many seasons, Miami now sits last in the Southeast Division at 10-22, and are losers of five of their last six. While Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside are pulling their weight as the stars of the team, the Heat are finding it difficult to score, ranking 28th in points per game, and rank near the bottom in both overall field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Defensively, they are above average, ranking 7th in points allowed and 13th in defensive rating.
The Heat could be without Dragic, however, who missed last night’s game with back spasms. Obviously, this would be a huge blow given he leads the team both in points and assists. With or without Dragic, containing Whiteside will be a top priority for the Hornets. Whiteside finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds when these two teams met last on October 28th, continuing his dominance against the Hornets. If Dragic is out, containing Whiteside should be enough to beat Miami, but that’s obviously easier said than done. Charlotte will have Roy Hibbert this time around, who should provide the clog in the paint the Hornets have lacked against Whiteside and the Heat previously.
For the Hornets, keep an eye on Nicolas Batum, who has been strong offensively of late, averaging 21.8 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.5 rebounds, in the last four games, shooting 55 percent from the field, and 44 percent from the 3-point line. While this scoring average is more of a luxury, it’s nice to see him shooting the ball efficiently after starting the season off poorly.