Key Matchup vs. Boston Celtics: Nicolas Batum vs. Jaylen Brown
A three-game road trip for the Charlotte Hornets kicks off tonight as they'll look to notch a sixth-straight win in their season-series finale with the Boston Celtics.
Nicolas Batum is playing his best basketball of the year right now for the Hornets and he'll need to keep it up with fellow starter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hamstring) questionable to play tonight. Over the team's last five games, Batum is averaging a line of 11.4 points (2.4 three-point field goals), 5.6 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.8 steals, which also includes a season-high 12-dime performance against Chicago on Feb. 27.
The Frenchman's lengthy physique will come in handy in Boston as he'll be paired up with sophomore sensation, Jaylen Brown, who has been thriving in an expanded role for the Celtics this season. The third overall pick two summers ago, Brown is one of four second-year players averaging at least 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist and he also pulled down a career-high 13 boards against Charlotte back on Nov. 11.
Despite being just 21 years old, Brown has arguably already moved into the upper echelon of elite wing defenders in the NBA. Batum has been quite efficient in terms of shooting and facilitating as of late and the red-hot Hornets will hope to see more of the same against a tough Celtics squad at TD Garden.