When: 8:30 p.m. EST
Where: AT&T Center; San Antonio, TX
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBATV, NBA League Pass
This is the last game of the longest road trip of the season for the Hornets. It’s gone very poorly so far. The Hornets have lost four of five with a couple brutal losses mixed in. To wrap things up, they travel to San Antonio to take on a Spurs team that has caught fire.
The obvious story here is Tony Parker’s return to the city that he brought four titles to. It’s the first time he’s played against the Spurs after spending the first 17 years of his career them. It’ll surely be an emotional evening as Spurs fans welcome him back and pay tribute to his time with the team.
As for the basketball side of things, it’ll probably be another long night for the Hornets. Already weary from the long west coast road trip, the Hornets now have to face arguably the league’s hottest team. No team has won more games than San Antonio since December 7th. Since that date, the Spurs have a +12.0 net rating, four points better than the league’s second best mark. They’re second in offense and third defense during this stretch. Gregg Popovich is perhaps having his best season as a coach.
The Spurs are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the NBA despite bucking the conventional offensive trends. They shoot nearly 25 mid-range jumpers per game, the most league. Conversely, they’re last in the league in both 3-point attempts and shots in the restricted area, yet they rank sixth in true shooting percentage thanks to the mid-range wizardry of DeMar Derozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay.
Despite the low volume, the Spurs’ 3-point shooting should be a huge concern for the Hornets tonight. The Hornets have allowed each of their last three opponents to hit at least 14 3-pointers. The Spurs are the only team in the league making more than 40% of their 3-point attempts, and they’re four days removed from starting 14/14 from behind the arc against the Thunder (they ultimately finished 16/19).
A win probably isn’t in the cards tonight, but that’s okay. The Hornets get to return home for two winnable games later this week.