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The Raptors pay a visit to the hive, as the Hornets need a win

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Charlotte is coming off their first win in a while, now they have to deal with Toronto.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets will play host to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night with a chance get a big win against one of the best teams in the East. It’s going to be a showdown of two teams with playoff aspirations and a healthy mix of All-Stars and All-Star snubs.

Even when the Hornets win, they still suffer indignity. Charlotte got a much-needed win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. Then on Thursday, the All-Star starters were named and Kemba Walker was not among them. Even worse, he somehow slipped all the way down the list to eighth, below even the definitely not an All-Star, Derrick Rose. But back to the game at hand.

Turns out that the Hornets like playing at home. The last time they pulled off a win was back on January 4, against the Thunder. They were the home team in that contest, prior to spending five games on the road — and losing all of them.

They’ll be home again for their matchup with Toronto. Let’s hope they can continue the great play at home because they’ve been sliding lately. They’re the only team among the top 10 teams in the East to have a losing record over the course of the last 10 games. It’s been a rough slide, taking the team under .500.

The challenge ahead is to beat a Raptors team that’s currently sitting in second place in the conference. Last time these two sides met, back in November, it was a great game that Toronto barely won, 113-111.

Walker was the hero for Charlotte in that game. He put up 40 points and seven assists in a tremendous performance. Seeing where he ended up in the All-Star standings, it would be great if Kemba elected to go full Damian Lillard mode against the Raps.

The only problem with that angle is Kyle Lowry, who has been a stud for Toronto all season, and also received a bit of an All-Star snub, coming in fifth. Obviously, that isn’t nearly as bad when compared to Walker falling below Rose.

The Raptors also have a DeRozan, a DeMar DeRozan, who didn’t get snubbed, and will be a starter in New Orleans alongside Kyrie Irving. He’s also led his team in scoring each of the past seven games. He also had a fantastic game against Hornets last time out, dropping 34 points.

The perimeter will certainly be focus in this game for both sides, but the frontcourt is going to be a warzone. Jonas Valanciunas, Roy Hibbert, Cody Zeller, and Lucas Nogueira? It’s going to be a physical affair for both sides, but the real value of the bigs on both sides is their ability to screen for the loaded backcourts.

It’s should be a great game, filled with All-Stars and a reason for Charlotte fans to feel optimistic for the first time in a while. 2017 isn’t off to an ideal start for the team, but there’s no time like Friday night for the Hornets to start a winning streak, get a statement win, prove the All-Star worthiness of their star guard, and get back to a winning record on the season.

That’s a lot to watch for, now the boys just need to get out there and hold down the home court.