Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 7:00 p.m EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets go for two straight wins as they host the Toronto Raptors. Tonight marks the end of a four game home stand, and the Hornets will look to go 2-2 after dropping the first two games over the weekend.
Despite an overall poor season, the Hornets looked good on Monday night. While only Frank Kaminsky put in an eye-popping performance, there was a concerted effort from the whole team. Their was ball movement, good shot selection, and ball pressure on the defensive end. Various players stepped up throughout the game, with Dwight Howard and Nicolas Batum contributing early before Kaminsky took fire. And Monday’s win came despite a poor performance from Kemba Walker, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the Hornets aren’t a G-League team when Walker has a bad night or isn’t on the floor.
But their new found confidence and shortened rotation will be tested by a Raptors team riding a three game winning streak. Toronto is top five offensively and top ten on the defensive end, making them a well rounded team. The last time these two teams met, Toronto cruised to a 126-113 win over the Walker-less Hornets. Kyle Lowry dropped 36 that night, while DeMar DeRozan added 30. Howard led the Hornets with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaminsky and Lamb each scored 18. Another solid night from those two would be nice.
More than anything, Charlotte needs to continue worrying about themselves. They’re starting to play with more confidence and collectiveness, as in, they look like they know what they’re doing out there. While it was just one game against a Knicks team without Kristaps Porzingis, the Hornets need a convincing win to convince themselves they could still have an above average night. A win against the Raptors would further solidify that.
On the injury front, Serge Ibaka is listed as day-to-day with a sore left knee. He missed Sunday’s game. On the Hornets side, nothing new to report.
Winning tonight will be tough, obviously. Walker needs to start shooting the ball well, and the other starters have to continue performing as they did two nights ago. Limiting DeRozan and Lowry’s shot opportunities is key as well. If either gets going, it could be a long night. All that said, the Hornets brought back just the tiniest bit of optimism on Monday. Let’s hope they don’t let us down.