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Preview: Hornets host Raptors in return from All Star break

The Hornets have had seven full days off to recuperate and prepare for Toronto.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (29-31) vs Toronto Raptors (32-25)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

It’s been eight days since the Hornets lost a heartbreaker to the Miami Heat to end the first segment of the season. That week off was just what the Hornets needed. They had lost nine of 10 games with several coming in devastating fashion. Now they’ve had a chance to regather themselves in preparation for what should hopefully be a fresh start.

Sometimes when things are going poorly, you need to not play for a while to forget how bad you are.

In that ten game stretch, the Hornets had the second worst offensive rating in the league (ahead of only the Thunder). They made just 41.6% of their field goal attempts and 29.1% of their 3-point attempts (not shockingly both worst in the league). That 3-point percentage is staggering considering that the Hornets spent much of the season at or near the top of the league in 3-point shooting percentage.

The good news is the foundation is still there to turn things around. Even with the offensive struggles, the Hornets led the league in percentage of baskets that were assisted. Their defense nearly compensated for the massive downturn in offensive production, as the team has had a top 10 defense during their struggles. They’re still playing fast and getting out in transition. They just need to start making shots again. That can return as quickly as it disappeared.

They’ll face a Raptors team that is heading the other direction. They are winners of nine of their last 11 and look to be hitting their stride as they prepare for the home stretch of the season. They’ve been stout defensively and have gotten decent enough offensive production despite generating fewer assists than any other team in the league.

Both teams are led by point guards coming off their All Star Game debuts. The better performer between the two will go a long way towards getting his team off on the right foot to start the final push towards the finish line. This is a great opportunity for the Hornets to get some momentum going as they try to climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.