Where: Vivint Smart Home Areana; Salt Lake City, Utah
When: 9:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets are back at it tonight as they take on the Utah Jazz on the road. Tonight’s match-up comes a day after the Hornets fell short against the Trail Blazers in overtime, 109-103. Kemba Walker scored 40 points, but his effort wasn’t enough (doesn’t that sound familiar).
When this preview was originally written and mistakenly posted for 10 minutes, the Hornets were winners of three straight games. Their playoff prospects, though still dim, shined a bit brighter. After tonight, however, Charlotte will more than likely be losers of three in a row. What a time, as Drake says.
Given Charlotte’s form, a win tonight would be tough regardless of the opponent, but the Jazz have won seven in a row games and 9-of-12 since the Hornets defeated them at home, 99-88, on January 12th. During the current winning streak, they’ve defeated the Spurs, Warriors, and Raptors. Ricky Rubio scored 34 points against San Antonio, as the Jazz put up 120 points without Donovan Mitchell. Clearly, things are clicking out in Utah.
Helping with their resurgence is Rudy Gobert, who returned to the team after injuring his knee earlier in the season. Since returning, Gobert is averaging 12.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks. He may not be their leading scorer, but he’s an essential part of their team’s success. The matchup between he and Dwight Howard should be something.
Tonight won’t forgiving should Charlotte go behind as they did yesterday. The Jazz are more experienced and playing their best basketball of the season. Charlotte can’t afford to play poorly for three quarters before turning it around in the fourth. Utah may not have a bonafide superstar, but they have a number of players that can get hot and punish opponents. Mitchell did it last time these teams met, and a fully expect him to do it again since the NBA-verse has a way of not letting us forget our draft mistakes.
Anyways, hopefully the Hornets can make it worth our while for staying up and watching.