clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Preview: Hornets host the Pelicans in the home opener

Charlotte faces a healthy Zion Williamson for just the second time in his young career.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (1-0) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (1-0)

When: 7:00pm EDT

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, N.C.

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets-Icon, Pelicans-Statement

Injury report

CHA: LaMelo Ball (left ankle sprain), OUT; Cody Martin (left quad soreness), DOUBTFUL.

NOP: Jaxson Hayes (elbow), QUESTIONABLE; Kira Lewis Jr. (knee), OUT.

After opening the 2022-23 season on the road with a blowout victory over San Antonio, the Hornets welcome fans back to Spectrum Center for the first home game of the season. The Hive should be alive and well tonight.

The Pelicans also opened the season with a blowout win on the road, though New Orleans beat a stronger team in the Nets. Zion Williamson, who looks healthier than ever on the court and appears to be in a good place mentally when speaking to the media, immediately reminded the public why he was an All-Star in his second season as he put up 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals in 30 minutes played. The general sports-viewing public benefits when Williamson is at his best — it’d be great to see him string together another dominant season as one of the game’s elite offensive bigs.

Though Williamson is in his fourth (third healthy) season, tonight marks only the second time he’s ever faced the Hornets. On Jan. 8, 2021, he put up 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a loss, with Gordon Hayward leading Charlotte with 26 points and seven rebounds. Former Hornet Devonte’ Graham will make a return to his home state as well; he went scoreless in 15 minutes against Brooklyn, but it seems like he’s comfortably the third guard in head coach Willie Green’s rotation behind CJ McCollum and Jose Alvarado.

Here’s a look at the Pelicans’ starting five:

  • CJ McCollum
  • Herb Jones
  • Brandon Ingram
  • Zion Williamson
  • Jonas Valančiūnas

McCollum blossomed as the lead ball-handler following the trade to New Orleans last season and a lengthy defensive stalwart in Jones is an ideal backcourt partner. Ingram and Williamson can get a bucket against nearly any defender in the league, with Ingram in particular growing as a three-level finisher while adding to his playmaking repertoire. Valančiūnas quietly attempted 2.1 threes per game last season and went 1-1 in the season-opener; if that keeps up, the Pelicans will have dangerous two-way potential.

Friday night, under the lights (technically), first home game of the season. The Hornets are up against a much tougher opponent, but let’s see if they can replicate Wednesday’s performance and go 2-0 against the Western Conference to kick off the year.