What: Charlotte Hornets (22-46) vs Utah Jazz (32-35)
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Charlotte—Statement (purple), Jazz—Association (white)
The Hornets have been playing good basketball of late, which is very on brand. Struggle all season then hit stride when the playoffs are out of reach and wins do nothing but build ‘momentum’ for next season.
Part of the good play has been the schedule, which has been pretty mediocre and devoid of any elite teams save for the Suns, who thoroughly dominated the game. That trend continues tonight, as the Hornets host a Jazz team that was surprisingly frisky to start the season but has since regressed to a “bad but not as bad as we thought they’d be” team down the home stretch of the season.
They’re led by Lauri Markkanen, who was dealt to the Cavaliers as an afterthought two seasons ago and then was probably more good filler than key piece in the Donovan Mitchell trade this past summer. But he’s blossomed for the Jazz. He was an All Star this season with averages of 25.4 points and 8.1 rebounds. He’s got the 50/40 part of a 50/40/90 season, but it’s not like he’s far off with an 87.2% free throw conversion rate.
With Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton out with injuries, there isn’t much else left in terms of offensive punch for the Jazz. Kris Dunn has been solid since being signed out of the G League a couple of weeks ago. Talen Horton-Tucker has some good games sometimes, and Kelly Olynyk plays some basketball. Walker Kessler blocks all the shots.
For their part, the Hornets may be without one of their last healthy good players as Terry Rozier was added to the injury report with a calf contusion. Mark Williams is questionable with the thumb sprain he picked up against the Pistons on Tuesday.