Hornets Closing Homestand with High-Flying New Orleans Pelicans

by Sam Perley

The Charlotte Hornets will look to wrap up a three-game homestand on a winning note as they get set to welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Spectrum Center for a 7 PM EST tipoff tonight.

Boston knocked off the Hornets, 108-87, on Thursday night in Charlotte, holding the hosts to a season-low 38.4% shooting and just 19.4% from three-point range. Despite the offensive struggles, Devonte’ Graham says the team is progressing defensively, as evidenced by its 105.7 rating on that side of the court over the last four games (115.5 in season’s first four games).

“We’re taking baby steps every practice, every game,” he said after Thursday’s game. “I feel like our communication is definitely [improving] on defense. We stayed talking to each other and just tried to help each other out. I try to help it out when I come in, be the floor general, leader on the floor, get guys going. If we get stops and run, we can play with anybody.”

Charlotte will need stops tonight, particularly with fourth-year Pelicans F Brandon Ingram currently averaging 25.9 PPG (55.2/48.6% shooting) over his first seven outings. New Orleans has two guards – Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball – both putting up at least 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.0 APG and 1.0 SPG and another one in Josh Hart who is leading the team in rebounding (7.6 RPG).

New Orleans is fourth in the NBA in offensive rating (110.4), fifth in fast-break scoring (17.1 PPG), but just 29th in defensive rating (114.8). Charlotte’s turnover situation has been straightened out somewhat the last three outings (15.0 per game; averaged 18.6 over the first 5 GP) and another cleaner night could help take away a big chunk of the New Orleans offense.

Game Notes: New Orleans will be hosting the Toronto Raptors on Friday night… Reigning first overall pick F Zion Williamson (torn right meniscus) is still sidelined for the Pelicans… Charlotte snapped a five-game losing streak to the Pelicans with a win in New Orleans on April 3, 2019.


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