WHEN: Sunday, March 31st, 2019; 8:30 PM EST
WHERE: Oracle Arena; Oakland, CA
WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast, NBATV
After an amazing run of wins against playoff teams from both conferences, the Hornets picked the wrong time to lay an egg. Charlotte dropped their opening game of a four game western road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers. Against a team already eliminated from the postseason, the Hornets gave up 129 points to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. OK, it wasn’t just KCP who scored, but that’s how it felt for most of the game.
To make matters worse, the Lakers decided to shut LeBron James down for the rest of the season AFTER playing him against Charlotte, but once again I digress. The Hornets are about to embark on the worst possible back-to-back you can possibly have at a time where the team needs wins in the worst way. Tonight, James Borrego’s team travels to Oakland to face the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
On February 26th, it was the star-studded Warriors that came into the Queen City and won 121-110 in the first matchup between the two teams. Now, it’s Charlotte traveling to Oracle Arena for the final time since the Warriors will be moving back across the Golden Gate Bridge to a new arena starting next season. Steve Kerr’s team has won eight of it’s last nine games against Charlotte and needs a win to least stay tied with the Denver Nuggets at the top of the western conference.
Golden State is coming off of a controversial (in their eyes) 131-130 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. After Stephen Curry tied the game with a signature three, Minnesota got a favorable foul call on the ensuing inbounds play. Karl-Anthony Towns would hit the game winning free throw with 0.5 seconds left to give his team the win. The Warriors are likely going to come into this game with a lot of motivation after the events that transpired in their last game.
Charlotte comes into this game as the 10th seed behind the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic with seven games left in the regular season. Kemba Walker is going to do what he’s expected to do as a three-time all-star point guard. However, the captain needs a lot of players to step up and until the Lakers debacle, Dwayne Bacon was the player getting it done.
The second year shooting guard out of Florida State has started in the Hornets last five games. He’s averaging 16 points per game, shooting 46.8 percent from the field, and is 13-24 (54.2%) from downtown in that time. Charlotte will need the Bacon to sizzle in Oakland. They’ll also need the good play they’ve gotten from Miles Bridges and Devonte Graham in recent games. Bridges had a career high five assists and Graham tied his career high of 11 points in the loss to the Lakers.
In the end, even when everything goes right, it’s going to be tough to defeat a talented team like the Warriors in Oracle. However, Golden State has lost six games at home this season by at least 20 points. The Hornets have to rebound, create second chance opportunities, hit timely shots from the perimeter, etc. Anything positive that could help a basketball team win a game, Charlotte has to do to have a chance against what will probable be an angry Warriors squad on Sunday night.