Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets hit a small bump in the road Wednesday night against the Pelicans. Winning four of their past five, Charlotte dropped a close game to a New Orleans team that had gone into overtime their previous four contests. Charlotte needs a bounce back performance to regain momentum and it may be served up in the form of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hawks are neck-and-neck with the Magic for owners of the worst record in the NBA. That Atlanta’s record is so bad is confusing considering the talent on the roster. Dennis Schroder is one of seven Hawks averaging double figures with 20 points a night. John Collins is having an All-Rookie potential season with his 10 points and seven rebounds coming off the bench. When you factor in players like Taurean Prince, Ersan Ilyasova, Kent Bazemore and Dwane Dedmond, you have a team that’s better than their last-place record indicates.
And yet here the Hawks are, 19 games under .500. Gone are the days where Atlanta won 60-plus games and made the Eastern Conference Finals, instead this current iteration of Atlanta is a tanking mess hoping to turn things around with the right draft pick.
I’m fascinated to watch this potential strength vs. strength matchup. The Hornets are one of the league’s very best rebounding teams in the entire league. The Hawks? Ehh not so much, Atlanta’s in the bottom five. On the other hand, the Hawks are fifth in assists, whereas the Hornets rank 29th. I’m curious to see if Atlanta’s ball movement or Charlotte gobbling up all the missed shots proves to be a difference maker in Friday’s matchup.