When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets are playing the Nets for the third time in as many weeks. Both of the previous meetings followed the same general format—the two teams played the majority of the game fairly evenly before the Nets pulled away for a comfortable win in the end. The Hornets will try to reverse that tonight.
The Hornets’ major bugaboo against the Nets is their interior defense against the Nets centers. Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan have combined to average 33.0 points and 23.5 rebounds while shooting 27-of-34 from the field (79.4%). They’re killing the Hornets both on the offensive glass (8.5 offensive rebounds per game) and in the pick and roll. That problem isn’t exclusive to the Hornets. The Nets generate putback opportunities on 19% of their misses, fourth best in the league (though they don’t convert them at a very high rate). They score 1.22 points per possession when finding the roller in the pick and roll, third best in the league.
Elsewhere, Spener Dinwiddie is still pushing for an All Star spot. He had a quiet night in the last meeting against the Hornets, but he bounced back with 24 points and eight assists against the 14-6 (at the time) Denver Nuggets on Sunday. He’s basically their Devonte’ Graham. Joe Harris is their Davis Bertans, so he’s your number one candidate to hit a bajillion 3-pointers.
The Hornets defense was locked in against the Wizards last night. Rotations were swift and most attempts around the rim were limited. That same focus will be needed tonight. But the Hornets haven’t fared so well in back-to-backs this season. This will be their sixth game on no rest. They’re 1-4 in their previous five, scoring just 103.2 points per game while allowing 116.0 (though the 41-point loss to the Bucks skews those numbers quite a bit).
They’ll try to reverse that trend without two of their trusted veterans. Marvin Williams has already been ruled out while he deals with a knee issue, and Nicolas Batum is listed as doubtful with discomfort in the hand that he broke a few weeks ago.