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Preview: Hornets look to improve to 2-0 against the Cavaliers

The Hornets meet with their biggest foil.

Indiana Pacers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (1-0) at Cleveland Cavaliers (0-1)

When: 7:00 pm EDT

Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

The Hornets hit the road after a magical comeback win over the Indiana Pacers to face a Cavaliers team that lost its season opener to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hornets are riding high. LaMelo Ball looked like superstar with a stat-stuffing 31-point performances. Gordon Hayward carried the team down the stretch while the rest of the roster chipped in bits and pieces along the way.

Up next is a weaker opponent, but the game will be played on the road. Reinforcements may be on the way though. Terry Rozier is currently listed as questionable, but we can be hopeful about a return since he was originally expected to play on Wednesday. Now he’s two days healthier. And you know he wants to play his hometown team. The Hornets would probably like that too. Since becoming a Hornet, Rozier has played three games in Cleveland. In those games, he’s averaged 35.7 points per game while shooting 53.5% from three. Fingers crossed he’ll be back.

On the other bench sit the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are led by Charlotte Bobcats alumnus JB Bickerstaff, and he has quite the collection of players to try to build lineups with.

While most of the NBA is zigging and going smaller and faster (the Hornets very much included), the Cavs are zagging and going as large as humanly possible. This was their starting lineup against the Grizzlies:

Darius Garland
Collin Sexton
Lauri Markkanen
Evan Mobley
Jarrett Allen

That’s two players that are 6’1” and three players that are 6’11”. Because who really needs wings in the modern NBA, right?

The Cavs used that size to bully the Grizzlies on the glass, as they hauled in a whopping seven offensive rebounds. That’s one more than Steven Adams had all by himself for the Grizzlies! They were only outrebounded by the Grizzlies by 17 total rebounds.

Jarrett Allen will cause problems—he always does for the Hornets. Plus he’s coming off a game where he shot the ball eleven times and missed zero of those attempts. The Cavs have some offensive firepower and are a good bet to put up some points, especially given how much the Hornets struggled to contain the Pacers. However, the Hornets should be able to answer with plenty of points of their own.

Jarrett Allen is a pretty alright defender. Evan Mobley will probably be good in time, but I don’t think it’s quite time to slap that label on him just yet. Issac Okoro also has the makings of a strong defender. But everyone else on this Cavs roster can be seen as a defensive liability in some form or fashion. They don’t have the horses to keep up the Hornets athleticism on the perimeter, so the Hornets should really look to push the pace in transition. In the half court, there’s no reason they can’t get into the paint at will for finishes at the rim or kick outs for three.