Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
On October 30th, 2017, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 104-99, who, at the time, led the Western Conference. It was Charlotte’s second game of a back-to-back, and came off the heels of a win over the then Eastern Conference leading Orlando Magic. It was kind of a big deal at the time:
Oh, how naive we were. The Grizzlies have managed just 14 wins since starting 5-1, and recently snapped a 19 game losing streak. They currently sit tied at the bottom of the Western Conference. The Magic are on track to win less games than a season ago, while the Hornets are in for another mid-30 win season.
The Hornets and Grizzlies match up for the second and final time this season tonight, and the stacks are clearly much different. Memphis is on track to finish with the worst record in the league, while Charlotte could nab the 10th spot. That took a “blow” last night, as the Hornets managed to come back from 23 points down to defeat the Brooklyn Nets, 111-106. Dwight Howard finished with 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player since Kevin Love in 2012 to record such a stat line, and only the second to do so since 1982.
Memphis is coming off a loss to the Sixers last night, and will likely be in a worse off mood than the Hornets, who looked quite rejuvenated after coming back to win. Kemba Walker finished the game strong after a poor start, while Jeremy Lamb had another solid performance as a starter.
The younger players are starting to figure it out as well. Dwayne Bacon scored just six points, but stayed on the court late in the game thanks to strong defense, including a late game possession in which he defended Chris LaVert’s drive to the hoop well. Willy Hernangomez cleaned the glass well, finishing with seven rebounds, and while Malik Monk continues to struggle shooting the ball, he showed better awareness as a passer, finishing with five assists. These are little things, but are worth paying attention to as the season winds down.
Memphis should be fully fit tonight. Tyreke Evans was held out last night to rest, so it can be assumed he will play tonight. Marc Gasol was a game time decision last night, but he played so expect the same tonight.
The Grizzlies struggle to score, so if Charlotte plays better defensively they will likely win. Keep an eye on Wayne Seldon, who score 18 points off the bench last night. Former Hornets 3rd point guard Briante Weber signed on with Memphis recently as well, and played 23 minutes last night.
No word on if Nicolas Batum or Cody Zeller will play. If they remain out, expect a deeper lineup like last night.