After two crushing defeats, the Charlotte Hornets are hoping to get back on track against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. The game is set to tip-off at 8:00 p.m. and can be streamed on Bally Sports Southeast and NBA League Pass.
Hornets injury report: Jalen McDaniels (ankle - probable), James Bouknight (neck - out), Gordon Hayward (ankle - out)
Pelicans injury report: CJ McCollum (health and safety - out), Brandon Ingram (hamstring - out), Larry Nance Jr. (knee - out), Kira Lewis Jr. (ACL - out), Zion Williamson (foot - out)
The Hornets are 2.5-point favorites in against the Pelicans, with the over/under set at 225. Charlotte moneyline is set at -140, while New Orleans is +120.
Charlotte is coming off of back-to-back losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, bringing their record to 3-7 in the last 10 games. They are an abysmal 4-12 since the start of February and are currently fighting to keep their spot in the play-in tournament.
Most recently, head coach James Borrego noted their turnover issues as a main reason behind their recent struggles. The Hornets turned the ball over a combined 31 times against the Nets and Celtics, giving up 35 fast-break points in the process.
And despite running into two brick walls in their last two losses (Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum), Charlotte didn’t do themselves any favors, either. Their shooting woes have continued, as they shot 13-of-41 (31.7 percent) from deep against Brooklyn and 8-of-33 (24.2 percent) against Boston. Charlotte’s only wins since the start of February have come when they shoot at least 37 percent from three-point range.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans had been on a tear before the injury bug caught up to them. McCollum, who will not be available against the Hornets due to health and safety protocols, has averaged 27.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from deep since joining the Pelicans.
After a 1-12 start to the year, New Orleans is now sitting at 10th in the Western Conference, just 1.5 games behind the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers. That being said, this is not the Pelicans team Charlotte will be taking on in New Orleans.
With McCollum, Ingram, and others out, the Hornets will be faced with a cast of Jonas Valanciunas, former-Hornet Devonte’ Graham, and standout rookie Herbert Jones - a defensive stalwart constantly tasked with defending the opposing team’s best player. And while injuries are always unfortunate, it bodes well for Charlotte, as the Pelicans are 2-14 this year without Ingram in the lineup.
Friday night marks the first time these two teams will have faced off this season, with their second and final matchup being just around the corner on Monday, March 21.
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