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Preview: Hornets try to stay afloat against Ja Morant and the Grizzlies

The Hornets travel to Memphis take on a Grizzlies team that will be happy to be home.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (3-5) at Memphis Grizzlies (5-3)

When: 8:00pm EDT

Where: FedEx Forum; Memphis, TN

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast; NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets—Association (white); Grizzlies—Icon (navy)

The Hornets are ailing badly and now take the shortest possible Western Conference road trip to take on a Grizzlies team that has aspirations to contend in their conference this season. The Grizzlies are 5-3 in the early goings of the season, but they’ve played six of their eight games on the road. They’ve split those contests while winning both of their home games, so they’ll be happy to host the Hornets.

As has been the case for a couple of years now, the Grizzlies are paced by Ja Morant. Last year’s most improved player is averaging 31.4 points per game on crazy efficiency. He’s shooting 52.5% from the field and 51.9% from three, albeit on low volume from distance. He’s as explosive as ever and is almost unstoppable when he gets moving towards the basket.

He’s been getting the bulk of his offensive support from Desmond Bane, who can shoot the basketball despite his T Rex arms and football player body. He’s averaging 30.7 points per game over his last four while shooting 56% from three on over eight attempts per game.

The supporting case is rounded out by guys like Dillon Brooks, who’s a menace when he’s not fouling out, sharp shooting rookie Jake LaRavia, always active Brandon Clarke, and steady Tyus Jones.

The Hornets will not have nearly as full a cast of characters to work with. The guard trio of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and Cody Martin are all still out, and they are joined on the injury report by Gordon Hayward. That means the Hornets will be without four of their top five ball handlers, which is super swell going against a Grizzlies team with a high scoring offense.

It’s probably best to write this one off as a loss and be pleasantly surprised if the Hornets can sneak a win out of this. They’re severely undermanned, so it’s not much of a fair fight.