When: 8:00 pm EST
Where: Toyota Center; Houston,TX
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
After a close game win against an impressive Spurs team Charlotte looks to finish their road trip against the lowly Houston Rockets who just won their 1st game in a month after a historical 20-game losing skid. The Hornets will be looking to get back over the .500 mark this season as they continue jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Rockets will be coming into this game with few injuries. Kevin Porter Jr. who has been playing well in his 2nd stint with Houston is listed as questionable with right quadriceps soreness. Eric Gordon (groin), David Nwaba (wrist), and Dante Exum (calf) have all been listed OUT for this game as-well.
The Hornets have a relatively clean bill of health with Cody Zeller being listed as questionable (Shoulder) and star rookie guard LaMelo Ball who just completed a successful surgery for his fractured wrist is listed as out.
Last game was our first taste of Charlotte without LaMelo Ball this season, and they looked impressive. The team ball movement led to 27 assist and five players with double digits in the scoring column. The Hornets are going to have to continue playing like that if they want to end up in the playoffs by the end of the season. It was refreshing to see even without arguably the team’s best playmaker Charlotte didn’t abandon their identity.
The big mistake that the Hornets have to avoid is just overlooking this Houston Rockets team that is starting to get back healthy. With the two of Houston’s best players returning in Christian Wood and John Wall, the Rockets have looked massively more competitive than without them. Now that has only translated to one win so far since their return back to the court, but at the very least Houston is not getting blown out every night as they were without those two.
The Hornets offense has to continue to lean on their two best scorers in Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward they’ll have to take advantage of the Rockets horrible defense which is currently ranked as the bottom team in defensive efficiency. I’m predicting a big game for Gordon Hayward tonight with Houston now sending away their best wing defender in PJ Tucker last week and Kevin Porter Jr. being listed as out in this one, Houston will be lacking legitimate answers for Hayward defensively outside of Danuel House.
Im interested to see how the Hornets guard Christian Wood tonight with Cody Zeller possibly being out the Hornets will have to call on Bismack Biyombo for serious minutes tonight. That’s not an ideal matchup so maybe we see some heavy zone 2-3 defense tonight especially with Houston not presenting any real perimeter threats on offense.
The Hornets should walk away from this game winning pretty handedly they just have the come out the gate with the right energy and focus. This game feels like a trap game but at the same time feels like a game I can see being over by the start of the 4th quarter if everything goes right.