Hornets Face Golden State Following Unexpected Hiatus

by Quinton Wash
  • Charlotte Hornets (13-15) vs. Golden State Warriors (16-13)
  • Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 at 8 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 106-91 on Dec. 4, 2019 in Charlotte

Hornets Return from Another Relatively Lengthy Layoff

After a pair of short-handed outings last weekend, Hornets basketball was paused on Tuesday because of contact tracing following positive COVID-19 tests within the San Antonio organization (Sunday’s opponent). At the time, Charlotte had already been without PJ Washington, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin for its previous two games (Health and Safety Protocols), while Gordon Hayward (back) and Devonte’ Graham (knee) were both dealing with injuries. Coach Borrego called this a physical and mental reset that will hopefully pay dividends starting with tonight’s game and then carry into a six-game all-Western Conference road trip.

Golden State’s Steph Curry Playing Like an NBA MVP Again

Just days after garnering his seventh career NBA All-Star Game start, Steph Curry returns to his hometown in the midst of another MVP-caliber season. The Warriors guard has been absolutely masterful this season, ranking second in the NBA in scoring (30.0 points) and first in three-pointers made per game (5.0) on a crisp 42.5% clip from long distance. Curry appeared in just five games last year because of a hand injury and then the pandemic suspension, although certainly looks a lot like the player who took the league by storm during the Warriors heyday.

Charlotte Will Need to Control the Rebounding Matchup

Much like the Hornets, Golden State isn’t the most sizeable team around, an issue that has been compounded with injuries to prized rookie James Wiseman, Kevon Looney, Draymond Green and Marquese Chriss. Heading into Friday’s game in Orlando, the Warriors ranked 28th in the NBA in rebounding percentage (48%), 29th in offensive rebounding (23%) and 26th in defensive rebounding (72%). Charlotte’s issues on the glass have been rectified a bit since Cody Zeller’s return, helping bump the team up to 16th in rebounding (50%) and 10th in offensive rebounding (28%). Expect the boards to be an area that the Hornets try to take advantage of.

Preview Quote

“We just have to adjust and adapt and find ways to communicate and connect away from each other. We found ways to connect before and we’ll do that again. I want this to be a reset for our minds, our bodies and use it as time to grow, get better and find some rest as well. It’s obviously been very disruptive, but we’ll find our way through it. It’s a great challenge for us and our young group, but we’ll be okay. There’s a lot going on and when you look at the big picture, this is just a minor blip of what’s going on in this world. We can handle this. I try to put it all in perspective. We’re going to be okay.” – Head Coach James Borrego

Final Thoughts

For the second time this season, the Hornets dealt with an unforeseen break because of Health and Safety Protocols, although this particular occurrence took place more on the receiving end as opposed to the previous one. Fingers crossed a week of rest and rehabilitation leading into Friday evening’s practice has put the team on the right track to play and perform well against a talented Warriors squad.

Additional Notes

C Kevon Looney (left ankle sprain) and C James Wiseman (left wrist sprain) did not play for Golden State on Friday night… This will be Golden State’s third road game in four nights and the second outing of a back-to-back. The Warriors are 2-2 with zero days rest this season… The Hornets swept the season series with the Warriors last year for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign.

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