When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets are losers of three straight games. If only they could get some respite with a home game against a bad team.
Oh look what we have here. A home game against a bad team.
The Grizzlies are 3-7 and sport the third worst net rating in the league (one spot worse than the Hornets). They’ve faced a brutal schedule so far, but that’s what you get as a weak team in the Western Conference. They just got an impressive road win in San Antonio, but that came after losses to the Mavericks and Magic by 16 and 32 points respectively.
The Grizzlies are led by rookie point guard Ja Morant. Morant has delivered on his pre-draft hype, averaging 17.8 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. He’s delivered in big moments, hitting a game tying bucket against the Nets and then blocking Kyrie Irving’s potential game winner just seconds later. His rookie classmate Brandon Clarke is doing what Brandon Clarke does, putting up beautiful analytic numbers. He’s currently tied for the most win shares among rookies with our very own PJ Washington.
They join a couple of strong youngsters that have already established themselves in the NBA. Dillon Brooks is a second round steal, averaging 13.5 points per game in his third season. Last year’s first round pick Jaren Jackson Jr. hasn’t quite taken the step the Grizzlies would’ve hoped for, but he’s still a menace defensively when he’s not fouling everybody, and he has a diverse offensive repertoire.
Jonas Valanciunas is there too, and he’s going to get every rebound tonight.
This isn’t the grit and grind Grizzlies. They’re 25th in the league in defensive rating and they play at the league’s sixth fastest pace, so the Hornets should be able to get their offense rolling again after some less-than-stellar shooting nights. The Grizzlies are the third worst team in the league at defending against handoffs, which bodes well for a Charlotte offense that’s heavily reliant on them.
The Hornets schedule gets significantly tougher after tonight’s game. They play the Pistons, who have Blake Griffin back, before a stretch where they play seven out of nine games on the road.