When: Friday January 1, 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports South(east), NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets play the Memphis Grizzlies in the Queen City at 7p.m. on the first day of 2021. What a better way to spend your evening than to watch Charlotte Hornets basketball?
The Hornets come into 2021 in full flight, coming off a road win against the highly-touted Dallas Mavericks. That win put the hornets at .500 four games into the season. Coach James Borrego’s pace and space offense quickly overwhelmed the Mavericks with swift decision passing and accurate shotmaking. Miles Bridges flew out of the lone star state with 20 pts and a career high 16 rebounds. Six Hornets scored in double digits and the team’s thirty assists show a team that gelled on the offensive side.
But all eyes were on the Ball. Lamelo Ball notched 22 points, 8 rebounds, and played 29 minutes. Which is great, because Coach Borrego might have had to move after the Ball hive would have protested in his front yard for denying Lamelo more than 20 minutes playing time. The behind-the-back passes are fun and the deep threes are exciting when they go in, but watch this pocket pass from Ball to Bismack.
This pass is positively Steve Nashian. This pass is a hint about what may come when this nineteen year old gets into his prime.
The Charlotte Hornets are flying into the new year with the momentum of two wins against supposed championship contenders in the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets.
The Memphis Grizzlies come into the Spectrum Center wounded, with two young developing stars out. Both Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. missed the wagon across state lines. But like my uncle always said, “the most dangerous animal is a wounded one.” Ja has been a revelation on this Memphis team that competes every night. They notched their third “L” in Boston Garden on Wednesday where they were searching for offense all game. Look for Coach Terry Jenkins to concentrate on Jonas Valančiūnas and Kyle Anderson to exploit the Hornets’ depth issues in the paint. It’s important for the Hornets’ guards to keep an eye out for flailing limbs as former Blue Devil, and casual assailant, Grayson Allen is on this team as well.
Whether or not they are starting, Miles Bridges and Lamelo Ball should have a huge influence on this team for today’s game and going forward. Expect the assists to crest thirty again if the Hornets are to continue their winning ways. PJ, Bismack, and McDaniels will have their hands full trying to stitch together a solid showing on the defensive end. Gordon Hayward should be able to lead the forwards in playmaking as he is just getting into form as a Hornet.
But what about the drip though?!?!?! The Charlotte Hornets will be unveiling their Mint City jerseys and court. The gold and mint colors harken back for the North Carolina gold rush and the first inaugural mint branch in Charlotte. (which, what?) But what matters most is how this fit pops on television. As the author of the definitive ranking of Charlotte professional basketball jerseys, I’ll be the final judge of how these uniforms stack up.
It’s 2021, new year, new kits, new reason to believe that this year will be better than the last (shout out to my Crows heads out there). The Charlotte Hornets buzz into the year with the greatest intangible of all: momentum.