When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The San Antonio Spurs have been a playoff basketball team for longer than some Hornets players have been alive. That streak is in grave danger, as the Spurs currently sit four games outside the playoff picture with three teams sitting between them and the eight seed. They’ve had bad starts to seasons in the past, but they’ve always turned it around. That hasn’t happened this season. Since the Spurs beat the Hornets back on February 1st, they’ve gone 3-8.
The main problem for the Spurs this season has surprisingly been their defense. The Spurs have always had an above average defense under Gregg Popovich, often among the league’s elites. This season, they rank 25th (one spot behind the Hornets).
The offense has somehow kept them afloat despite it boasting the league’s worst shot profile. 41.9% of the Spurs shots come from the midrange, by far the most in the league. Their larger midrange maestro, LaMarcus Aldridge, is expected to sit out tonight’s game. That leaves more room for DeMar DeRozan to slither around and hit ridiculous 18-foot fadeaways.
The obvious story tonight is James Borrego versus Gregg Popovich, as it always will be when the Hornets play the Spurs. Borrego is 2-1 against his old boss after sweeping the Spurs last season. He’ll try to avoid getting swept by the Spurs this time around.
The Hornets will have to do that without a key piece. Devonte’ Graham is expected to miss tonight’s game after tweaking his ankle when Giannis Antetokounmpo fell on him during the Bucks game on Sunday. Terry Rozier will get the bulk of the minutes at point guard, but after that, it’s a mystery. Malik Monk is still suspended and Joe Chealey’s 10-day contract ran out. My guess is we’ll see Cody Martin take over lead ball handling duties when Rozier takes a breather.