Hornets Finishing Tough Road Trip in San Antonio

By Sam Perley
by Sam Perley

A challenging six-game road trip for the Charlotte Hornets finally comes to an end tonight as they wrap things up against the always tough San Antonio Spurs starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.

After starting the journey 1-4, the Hornets now head to the AT&T Center, where they’ve lost 11 consecutive appearances (last win: Nov. 15, 2006). The Spurs have gone 14-5 since Dec. 5, ranking second in the NBA in offensive rating (116.4), third in defensive rating (104.3) and first in net rating by a wide margin (+12.0; Boston is second at 7.7) during this stretch.

The center position has continued to produce a mixed bag of results for the Hornets ever since they lost Cody Zeller to a broken right hand on Dec. 31. Bismack Biyombo has looked impressive at times though, posting averages of 7.2 points on 53.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.8 minutes over five starts. The Congolese vet also leads the team in defensive rating during this away stretch as well (110.4).

Hornets Head Coach James Borrego has called for more physicality and toughness at times over the last few weeks and the Charlotte frontcourt will certainly be thoroughly tested again going against LaMarcus Aldridge. Two games ago, the Texas native scored a career-high 56 points (16-of-16 from the line), to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in a double-overtime victory over Oklahoma City.

At 6’11 and 260 pounds, Aldridge is a seismic talent who excels offensively by way of crafty post-ups and mid-range shooting. Biyombo, Willy Hernangómez, Marvin Williams and even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will need to be firing on all cylinders to make sure the five-time All-NBA veteran doesn’t have another big night against the Hornets.

Game Note – Aldridge’s 56-point game on Jan. 10 vs. OKC was the first time since 2000 that an NBA player has scored that many points without hitting a three-pointer (Shaquille O’Neal; 61 at LAC)… This will also be Tony Parker’s first game in San Antonio as a visiting player since signing with the Hornets last summer.

Classic Fact – The first road win in Charlotte Hornets franchise history came in San Antonio on Nov. 19, 1988. Kelly Tripucka tallied a game-high 31 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals in the 107-105 victory.

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