What: Charlotte Hornets (10-26) vs. Brooklyn Nets (23-12)
When: 7:00 PM EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, N.C.
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets — Statement (purple); Nets — City (white)
BKN: Joe Harris (knee), OUT; Ben Simmons (illness), GAME TIME DECISION; Edmond Sumner (thumb), GAME TIME DECISION.
CHA: Kelly Oubre Jr. (hand sprain), OUT; Cody Martin (knee surgery), OUT; Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle sprain), QUESTIONABLE.
The Charlotte Hornets will look to start off this homestand 2-0 as the Brooklyn Nets come into town, winners of 10-straight and 14 of the last 15 games.
Brooklyn’s current streak started with a win over Charlotte back on Dec. 7, a 122-116 victory in which Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 62 points to edge out the Hornets. Terry Rozier dropped a season-high 29 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 28 in that contest, and all five starters scored in double-figures. It took quite a bit of production for the Nets to beat a Hornets squad at home that was without LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.
On the season, the Nets rank fifth in offense, second in team three-point percentage and have a top-10 defense. With Durant and Irving both slotting inside the top-20 in points per game, Brooklyn is one of two teams (Boston) with two top-20 scorers league-wide. If the Nets shooters come out of the gates hot, it could be a long night for Charlotte’s 27th-ranked defense.
Of course, the big story for the Hornets is still Mark Williams. Nick Richards is fully healthy again, but Kai Jones was assigned to the Greensboro Swarm this morning, making room on the depth chart for Williams or Richards to slide in as Mason Plumlee’s backup. It’ll also be interesting to monitor if/when one of the younger bigs replaces Plumlee as the center in crunch time. Williams doesn’t have the veteran savvy, but he’s produced in his minutes; Richards has already proven he’s a capable NBA center, but may not have the upside Williams does at 7-foot-2 with mobility and finishing touch.
Time for the Hornets to start a win streak. Charlotte has only won consecutive games once this season, and despite the fact that the average fan is hoping for a tank year rather than another ill-fated playoff push, it’d be nice to see the Hornets rattle off a few wins against good teams. Competence is a very important part of team-building and the Hornets have a better chance than they’ve had all season to start showing it on a consistent basis.