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Preview: Hornets head to Toronto for first of back to back games against Raptors

The Hornets have an extended stay in Toronto that features two visits to the Raptors.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (11-30) at Toronto Raptors (17-23)

When: 7:30pm EST

Where: Scotiabank Arena; Toronto, ON

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets—City (black), Raptors—Association (white)

While the Hornets have been loud and proud with their badness this year, the Raptors have subtly been pretty irrelevant this season. They’re 17-23 and currently sit a game-and-a-half outside of the final play-in spot. They’ve been extra bad lately and have won just four of their last fifteen contests.

In those last fifteen games, their offense has been almost Hornets levels of bad but at a much slower pace. Their effective field goal percentage is 49.9% (30th in the league, Hornets are 28th in their last 15). Their true shooting percentage is 54.9% (28th in the league, Hornets are 29th). The ineffecient offense comes while playing at the sixth slowest pace and not sharing the ball.

Pascal Siakam is the heart and soul of this Raptors team. He leads them in points (25.7), rebounds (8.3), and assists (6.5) per game. Fred VanVleet has regressed substantially from last year’s All Star season and is shooting just 37.7% from the field and a career low 32.9% from three. Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby provide 3&D threats. Scottie Barnes has been good but has been statistically almost identical to his rookie season.

The Hornets will have to deal with a lot of elbow touches from Siakam and pull-up jumpers from Fred VanVleet. Ideally the Hornets will speed this game up and get the Raptors out of the slow pace they like to play at. The Raptors have been very good at limiting opponents’ transition opportunities, but they give up points at a pretty high rate when teams do finish possessions in transition. If the Hornets let this game become a throwback halfcourt game, they’ll struggle to score.

On paper, this looks like it will be an ugly game with lots of missed shots. There’s a good chance the first team to 100 wins if any team even makes it to 100.