What: Clevland Cavaliers (1-7) at Charlotte Hornets (4-5)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets have been up and down to begin the season. After beating the Miami Heat in dominant fashion, they blew a 19-point lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder two days later. This loss means that four of the Hornets’ five losses are by four points or less. Now, the Hornets will try to bounce back at home against a Cavaliers team that has had their number the last few seasons, but are struggling without Lebron James.
Led by the widely-regarded best player on the planet, the Cavs swept all three games of the season series with the Hornets last year. They’ve won nine straight games and 13 of their last 14 in the series. All of those contests were with LeBron dominating at all costs. Now, the Cavs look a whole lot different without their best and most important player in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
Cleveland lost their first six games which led to the firing of head coach Tyronn Lue. Then, with Larry Drew serving as the acting head coach, they beat the Atlanta Hawks 136-114. A loss to the Denver Nuggets right after that means that they’re 1-7 in the early going. There are still a lot of familiar faces on the team. Kevin Love remains after signing a four-year, $120 million extension this past summer. However, he is out for at least 6 weeks after getting foot surgery this past week.
With the Cavs making it to four straight NBA Finals, even the casual fan is familiar with their core. J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, George Hill, Rodney Hood, Tristan Thompson, and Jordan Clarkson are still in the organization. However, the Cavs have seen a lot of production from their young duo of Cedi Osman and rookie Collin Sexton. Despite their best efforts, their defense and offense are both significantly worse than last season (because duh LeBron is gone).
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Hornets have struggled to finish games so far this season. Their record could be a lot different if they weren’t inept in the second half on most nights and play on the defensive end has to improve from a lot of players. On the offensive side, Marvin Williams has struggled to say the least. His play must pick up if the Hornets want to be successful this season.
Overall, this is one of those “take care of business” games. The Cavaliers will play hard to start, but the Hornets should take advantage of this game and play well on both sides of the ball. Kemba Walker is looking to regain his scoring form after two human performances back-to-back. We will see if the Hornets can get back in the win column after a heartbreaking loss on Thursday to the Thunder.