Charlotte Hornets Report - Tough Stretch Ahead For Buzz City
The Charlotte Hornets are off to a .500 start in the first 14 games of the season. The next 4 games are going to be a true test for the fringe playoff contenders. The Hornets next 3 are at home against the 76ers, Celtics and the Pacers and then they face the Thunder on the road to end the 4-game stretch. Currently the Hornets have not lost a game in division and are the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The first game in the 4-game stretch is against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hornets and Sixers have faced off twice already this year with the Sixers taking both games. This meeting will be different, because this week the 76ers added SF Jimmy Butler, who they acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the 2 previous meetings, Kemba Walker averaged 33.5/6.5/7.5. For Charlotte to have a chance in this game, other players will have to step up and not rely on the All-Star PG so much. If you are able to attend the game, I would encourage you to do so. They are giving away free 30th Anniversary Team T-Shirts to the first 7,500 fans that walk through the door.
The Hornets have been playing a smaller lineup this season under new head coach James Borrego, which seems to be working so far. Monday’s matchup against the Boston Celtics will be an interesting one to see. Boston is a top team in the East and will definitely be a tough matchup for the Hornets. The Celtics look like they are getting into a groove after a big Overtime win against the Eastern Conference 1-seed Toronto Raptors. Kyrie Irving scored 43 points in the win. The Celtics have one of the most complete lineups in the NBA and the first matchup between the two will be intriguing
The Indiana Pacers are next in line for the Hornets on Thanksgiving Eve. The Pacers have been a sneakily good team to start the season. The Victor Oladipo led team is currently tied for 3rdin the East and will look to keep up their successful start. A large reason for the Pacers success is their defense, they are 3rd in the NBA in points allowed. Like the two games ahead of this one, it will help the Hornets due to the fact that they are at home. If you are in the Charlotte area make sure to support the Hornets in their next 3 home games against 3 tough Eastern Conference foes.
Last on the list is the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road. This is a Friday game and will be another difficult opponent for the Hornets. The Thunder have been without Russell Westbrook since November 5th, as he has been nursing an ankle injury, but this really hasn’t slowed the team down. After an 0-4 start to the year, the Thunder have won 9 of their last 10. Also, it is worth mentioning that the Thunder have created the most turnovers in the NBA, which means the Hornets will have to be extra cautious with the ball. The Thunder and Hornets have already met once this year, with the Thunder taking the W 111-107. In this game, Malik Monk and Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 21 points apiece, while the bench combo of Alex Abrines and Dennis Schroder combined for 46 points for the Thunder. How the Hornets approach these next 4 games could shape the direction of the team going forward for the rest of the season.