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Preview: Hornets continue West Coast swing against Warriors

Draymond Green, please get two technicals again tonight so the Hornets can win, thank you

Golden State Warriors v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (15-16) vs Golden State Warriors (18-15)

When: 10:00 pm EST

Where: Chase Center; San Francisco, Calif.

How to watch: Fox Sports South, NBA League Pass

The Charlotte Hornets will look to sweep the season series in a matchup with the Golden State Warriors tonight, following one of the most fun games of the Hornets’ 2020-21 season when Terry Rozier ethered the Dubs at the buzzer last week.

Charlotte split the first two games of this six-game road trip, losing to the league-best Utah Jazz (technically, the Hornets won 92-90 through three quarters, so it’s 34 of a win in my book) before coming back in the second half to beat the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

The Warriors currently own the fourth-best defense in the NBA and are one of two teams with a higher assist percentage (67.3) than the Hornets (66.0). As they’ve always done under head coach Steve Kerr, Golden State spreads the ball around to find open shooters, and switch most actions on defense to keep the ball in front and force opponents to beat them via mismatches and jump shots.

Thankfully, the Hornets are well-equipped to do that. They’ve climbed to eighth in the NBA in team 3-point percentage (38.1) and Malik Monk (47.3 percent) and Rozier (44.5 percent) each rank in the top-12 in 3-point percentage among players that attempt at least three per game. It sounds a bit obvious, but the Hornets’ ability to knock down open shots and make the Warriors pay for their coverage choices and/or mistakes will be key tonight.

Golden State will be without Marqueese Chriss (broken leg) and Klay Thompson (torn Achilles), both of whom are out for the season.

Devonte’ Graham (left knee discomfort) and Caleb Martin (health and safety protocols) are both out for tonight’s game. Cody Zeller (left hip contusion) is questionable after taking a hard fall and leaving the game in the second half against Phoenix.

Jalen McDaniels has made three of his eight 3-point attempts since returning to the team from the G League bubble. It’s the smallest of sample sizes, but it’s nice to see the level of confidence he showed with the Greensboro Swarm carry over to the Hornets. His length, defensive versatility and shooting potential are worth trying out in the rotation, as the Hornets don’t have a lot of the former two traits.

Not having Zeller available would hurt, but the Warriors’ lack of size would allow head coach James Borrego to utilize his small-ball lineups more frequently in the case of his absence. PJ Washington getting an up-close-and-personal lesson in anchoring a defense from Draymond Green can’t hurt.