What: Brooklyn Nets (19-40) vs. Charlotte Hornets (24-33)
When: February 22nd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets ended their pre-All Star break schedule with a close win against the Orlando Magic last week. The win snapped a 14 game losing streak in games decided by three points or less, tied for the longest losing streak in NBA history (thank you, Maresse Speights). Now, the Hornets look to build a winning streak after the all star break against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets, coached by Kenny Atkinson, started their season with a 15-23 record while being competitive in almost all of those games. However, things have started to go in the wrong direction for the Nets. They are 4-17 in their last 21 games and are looking for a spark to finish their season strong. They do have a lot of talented young players like D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, but they also have a very talented point guard that no one has really heard of before.
2018 Skills Challenge winner Spencer Dinwiddie has been one of the best stories of the Nets season and even the NBA season. He was traded from the Pistons to the Bulls for practically nothing, cut by the Bulls right after, and the Nets signed him to a rookie-type contract in December 2016. He has turned into one of the teams best players, averaging close to 14 points and seven assists per game.
Kemba Walker also got to feature during All Star weekend as he was a part of Team Lebron’s victory over Team Stephen on Sunday. The two-time All-Star had 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting in 14 minutes. Now, he looks to lead a Hornets playoff push despite the overwhelming odds against the team. Charlotte is 5.5 games back of the 8th seed Miami Heat going into the post-all star break schedule.
For the Hornets to win, they have to keep the Nets from making 3-pointers. The Nets are second in the NBA in makes and attempts from behind the arc. They are also one of the best rebounding teams in the league to go with that. These are two things that have plagued the Hornets this season especially the three point defense. Charlotte can’t afford to let the Nets shooters (like Allen Crabbe and Demarre Carroll) get hot from three.
Overall, if the Hornets want to make a playoff push, these are the games they have to win to stay alive. There are a lot of games that Charlotte wants back, but a loss would be devastating. The Hornets playoff chances are already slim and they can’t afford to make their chances dwindle away. We will see if the Hornets can start a new winning streak against the Brooklyn Nets at the Spectrum Center.