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Home Road Trip Preview/Game Details: Hornets wrap up road trip against Pelicans

Preview/Game Details: Hornets wrap up road trip against Pelicans

by Staff

What: Charlotte Hornets (8-29) (4-16 away) at New Orleans Pelicans (24-17) (12-8 home)

When: 8:00pm Eastern

Where: Smoothie King Center; New Orleans, LA

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets–Association (white), Pelicans–Icon (navy)

Game Lines: Hornets +12.5, O/U 230.5

Hornets: Brandon Miller-questionable (back), Bryce McGowens-questionable (hip flexor), Frank Ntilikina-questionable (leg), Gordon Hayward-out (calf), Mark Williams-out (back)

Pelicans: Matt Ryan-out (calf)

I hate these injury reports where I just can’t believe that an NBA team doesn’t have half their roster on the shelf like the Hornets have had for the better part of two seasons now. The Hornets are potentially getting reinforcements with Brandon Miller upgraded to questionable.

The Hornets have to be about as road weary as a team could be with an NBA travel schedule. This will be the 11th road game in a 14 game stretch that includes trips to Canada and to the west coast. The losses would compound the exhaustion from the travel. The Hornets have won just one game during this grueling stretch of travel. It’d be entirely understandable if they don’t have much juice for the game tonight.

Unfortunately, it’s not a team to be lacking juice against. The Pelicans are 15-8 since a shaky 9-9 start. In that 23 game stretch of very good basketball, they’re seventh in offensive rating and sixth in defensive rating.

It’s an interesting matchup of strengths and weaknesses. The Pelicans attack the rim a lot but they don’t score super efficiently there. The Hornets allow their opponents a lot of shots at the rim, but their opponents tend to make them. The fact that the Pelicans try to get inside does not bode well for the Hornets defense that is basically reliant on other teams simply missing shots to be effective for significant parts of most games. Jonas Valanciunas and Zion Williamson are going to be a tremendous problem here.

Meanwhile the Pelicans protect the rim at the expense of allowing teams to shoot jumpers. The Hornets want to shoot in the paint and struggle to attempt and make jump shots at high volumes. They attempt more drives to the basket than every team in the league except the Thunder, but they struggle to score out of those drives and turn the ball over at the third highest rate in the league. It’s very easy to see them repeatedly running into a wall trying to attack this Pelicans defense.

It’s not a good matchup for the Hornets, and they’re wrapping up a brutal stretch of the schedule. These circumstances are not ideal.

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