When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets are now 3-15 in their last 18 games. One of those losses came against these very same Magic and fit the pattern that has become common of Hornets losses. The Hornets played a strong first quarter but lost their way after that. By the second half, the Hornets offense was completely devoid of rhythm. They were outscored 55-38 over the final two quarters en route to a 23-point loss.
The Magic have not won since that game. They are losers of five straight games by an average of 13.2 points per game. Four of those losses came at home. They’re already-bad offense has tanked to the second worst in the league over those five game (the one team that is worse is the Hornets). They’re normally-good defense has allowed 117.3 points per 100 possessions.
No Magician has been immune from the offensive struggles. Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon are both shooting sub-40% from the field during the losing streak. Terrence Ross is sub-30% (but he wasn’t playing the Hornets those nights). Nikola Vucevic is shooting just 43% while shooting more 3-pointers than normal and canning them at a 28.6% rate. Michael Carter-Williams led the team in scoring against the Clippers.
Malik Monk and Miles Bridges are the two Hornets to watch tonight. Monk always tries to show out in front of his former coach, and that’s a bit worrisome given the buildup to this game. Monk has been forcing the issue a bit too much since his two game outburst. That combined with his desire to put up numbers against the Magic could easily lead to a 4-for-15 night in about 18 minutes of court time.
Bridges comes into tonight off the first back-to-back 20-point games of his career. He needs to prove that he can sustain a high level of play for more than a few games at a time.
Tonight’s match-up has all the ingredients necessary for a terrible game of basketball. Sometimes terrible can be fun. Sometimes it’s unwatchable. Here’s to hoping tonight is the former.