The Charlotte Hornets take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight for the third time this season, coming off of a dominating win over the Toronto Raptors last night.
Brooklyn sits last in the Eastern Conference at 9-33, but have given Charlotte trouble this season, with the Hornets winning by just four in the first match up on November 4th, but then losing 120-118 to them on December 26th. Since then, both teams have entered the worst stretches of the season, with Charlotte winning just 4 of the next 12 games. It’s gone worse for Brooklyn, however, as that December 26th win was the last their win until Friday’s blowout win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Brooklyn’s skid was more predictable given the loss of Jeremy Lin, who re-injured himself against Charlotte and hasn’t played since. Lin has played well when on the court, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in the 12 games he’s played, but overall its been a frustrating season for the former Hornet.
Since the last match up, the Nets waived Anthony Bennett in order to sign Quincy Acy to a 10-day contract. Acy has appeared in four games for Brooklyn, averaging 6.3 points and two rebounds a game in 7.5 minutes.
Brook Lopez continues to be the focal point for Brooklyn, averaging 20.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Sean Kilpatrick and Bojan Bogdanovic both average 14 points a game, while Trevor Booker averages a near double-double of 10 points and 8.9 rebounds. Beyond those four, they have no other players averaging more than 10 points a game. That said, they rank a league average 15th in points per game, and have the ability to fill it up, as was the case after dropping 143 points against the Pelicans last night.
Tonight should be an easy win for Charlotte, but the past two meetings suggest otherwise. The Nets can’t defend, ranking dead last in points allowed, which means the Hornets just need to be competent offensively to be able to score. The defensive side of things remains key, however. Brooklyn knocked down 15 3-pointers against Charlotte in the last match-up, despite being one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the league. Defending the 3-point line a little better this time would be ideal.
Given Charlotte’s impressive win against Toronto, however, you have to feel pretty good about their chances tonight. The Raptors scored just 30 points in the second half last night, as Charlotte put them away, outscoring them 33-15 in the third.
The Hornets have looked more like the team we saw earlier this season since returning home — hopefully that continues, and Charlotte picks up their 3rd straight win.