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Preview: Resurgent Hornets face the faltering Trail Blazers

Charlotte travels to Portland for their fifth straight road game on their western swing.

Charlotte Hornets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (9-24) at Portland Trail Blazers (17-16)

When: 10:00 pm EST

Where: Moda Center; Portland, Oregon

How to watch: NBA TV

After a brutal eight-game losing streak the Charlotte Hornets have now won two of their last three games. The Portland Trail Blazers, meanwhile, have lost four of their last five contests despite their winning record. The Hornets are finally somewhat healthy and look to keep the momentum rolling tonight.

Portland Trail Blazers overview

The Blazers are led by superstar point guard Damian Lillard and his 28 points per game. Joining Big Game Dame in the 20-point club are explosive shooting guard Anfernee Simons (22.5 PPG) and vastly underrated wing Jerami Grant (21.8 PPG). The Blazers have redundancy in the scoring department. If Lillard has an off night, Simons or Grant can step up. Rounding out the starting five are versatile forward Josh Hart (9.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG) and center Jusuf Nurkic (14.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG). Both Hart and Nurkic are banged up and considered day-to-day.

Portland’s bench is pretty thin. Forward Justice Winslow is out with injury. Guards Shaedon Sharpe (7.9 PPG) and Keon Johnson (6.1 PPG) aren’t needle movers. Big men Trendon Watford (5.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG) and Drew Eubanks (5.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG) are pretty average off the bench.

How the Hornets can win

In Charlotte’s last two wins they simply outscored their opponents. They dropped 125 points against the Kings and won by six. In their last game they put up 134 points and beat the Lakers by four. This Hornets team isn’t winning with defense right now.

If the Hornets key to winning is scoring, the Blazers are the right opponent right now. Portland’s team defensive rating of 114.0 (points allowed per 100 possessions) ranks 25th in the NBA, so they have a bottom-tier defense. The Blazers gave up 123 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder three games ago and 120 to the Denver Nuggets in their last game.

Look for PJ Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. to step up offensively in this one. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Hornets put up 120-plus points in an entertaining game late tonight.