Hornets Head to Brooklyn Looking to End Losing Streak

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (27-27) at Brooklyn Nets (37-18)
  • Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:30 PM EST (Barclays Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Nets won, 111-89 on April 1, 2021 in Brooklyn, NY

Absences Mount as Charlotte Searches for Answers on Offense

Injuries to LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Malik Monk and now PJ Washington are really starting to catch up to the Hornets now after they got swept in a three-game homestand earlier this week. The team posted an offensive rating of 104.4 across this stretch, while averaging just 94.7 points on 43% shooting and 33% from three. It appeared Charlotte generally had decent ball movement over this span and was getting solid looks – shots just weren’t falling. With a full day off between games, hopefully the Hornets have had some time to re-tinker the offense as they look to put points on the board any way they can.

Hornets Can’t Have a Repeat First-Quarter Showing in Brooklyn

Charlotte fell behind by 17 in the first quarter of its loss to the Hawks on Sunday afternoon, although has gotten off to better starts in the ensuing two contests against the Lakers and Cavaliers. Two weeks ago, the team scored a season-low 11 first-quarter points on 4-of-23 shooting on its way to losing the opening frame by a margin of 32-11. The Hornets never once threatened the outcome the rest of the game, finishing with a then campaign-low 89-point total in the blowout loss. Safe to say, starting much stronger will be absolutely imperative against a Nets squad that currently ranks second in the NBA in offensive rating (117.2).

Kevin Durant Returns for Nets, James Harden Remains Sidelined

Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant was still nursing a strained hamstring when these teams last met, although recently returned from a six-week absence on April 7. Since coming back, Durant is averaging 23.3 points on 65% shooting (7-of-12 from three), 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists in three total appearances, one of which was off the bench. The Hornets notably held the superstar to a relatively modest 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting in a 106-104 win over Brooklyn at Spectrum Center way back on Dec. 27. With James Harden (right hamstring strain) sidelined now, look for the Nets to ride Durant as he works his way back into playing form.

Preview Quote

“It’s never easy when you’re dealing with a lot of injuries at a crucial time like this where each win matters. It’s just tough. We’ve got guys down, but it means no excuses. These are just the cards we were dealt. We’ve got to turn it around and find things within ourselves to get us going. Nobody else is going to do it for us.” – Terry Rozier following Wednesday’s home loss to Cleveland

Final Thoughts

Charlotte’s defense has continued to make strides lately, but ultimately, the lack of point production and overall playmaking is holding the team back right now with so many key players injured. Snapping the Hornets’ three-game losing streak tonight in Brooklyn will come down to getting off to a fast start, generating extra possessions via takeaways and offensive rebounds and then knocking down open shots when available.

Additional Notes

G James Harden (right hamstring strain), G Tyler Johnson (right knee soreness) and G Chris Chiozza (right hand fracture) all sat out Brooklyn’s game in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Both Durant and F Blake Griffin also did not play on the second night of the back-to-back (injury management)… Nets C LaMarcus Aldridge abruptly announced his retirement on Thursday morning following 15 NBA seasons after experiencing an irregular heartbeat in a game on April 10… Charlotte is 2-4 against Brooklyn since the start of the 2019-20 season (1-2 on the road).

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