Hornets injury report: Gordon Hayward (ankle - out)
Jazz injury report: Hassan Whiteside (foot - questionable), Bojan Bogdanovic (calf - out), Danuel House Jr. (knee - out), Udoka Azubuike (ankle - out)
The Hornets are 3-point underdogs against the Jazz and the over/under for the contest is set at 232.5. The moneyline for Charlotte is set at +135 and for Utah, it’s -155.
Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets are coming off of an ugly loss to the New York Knicks. As noted in the recap of the game, the Hornets failed to play with any urgency. It was a mess from the jump, topped off by a dud of a fourth quarter from LaMelo Ball. He had 32 points through the first three quarters but failed to score at all in the fourth. Charlotte will undoubtedly be looking to bounce back against Utah.
Buzz City is 37-36 on the season, which is currently good for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are one game ahead of the Atlanta Hawks in tenth place but only one game behind the Brooklyn Nets in eighth. With an impending matchup against the Nets on Sunday, a win vs. the Jazz would put them in a great position to move up the standings in the near future.
Utah Jazz: Speaking of ugly losses, the Jazz are coming off of one of their worst Ls of the season. They got blown out by the red-hot Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, 125-97. Boston got hot at the start of the game and never looked back. The loss only continued Utah’s struggles, as they are now 5-5 in their last ten games, desperately trying to fight off the Dallas Mavericks in the standings.
But despite their rough play as of late, Donovan Mitchell has been on fire. Over his last four games, he’s averaged 35.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from deep (on 13.5 three-point attempts per game). He’ll be their main point of attack on the offensive end.
Charlotte will have to put up a much better defensive shift against the Jazz than they did against the Knicks if they want a chance at winning. Regardless of how they’ve been playing lately, Utah still holds the best offensive rating this season (116.1), which could prove to be an issue. With how streaky the Hornets have been this year, getting back on track as soon as possible is crucial. They lost to the Jazz back on December 20 and will be looking for a different result this time around.
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