Hornets Opening December, Closing Homestand Against Pelicans
By Sam Perley
The Charlotte Hornets will look to finish off their four-game homestand the way they began it as they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to town for a rare Sunday afternoon 5 p.m. ET start.
After posting wins over the Bucks and Hawks earlier last week, Charlotte surrendered a season-high 18 threes in a 119-111 loss to the Jazz on Friday evening. Contrarily, a large amount of the Pelicans’ offense runs through big men Anthony Davis and Julius Randle, which leaves them 25th in the NBA in three-point field goals per game (9.8).
The hosts may need a few more long balls from All-Star guard Kemba Walker, who has struggled lately relative to his torrid start to the season. Over his last six games, Walker is averaging 20.7 points, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from three. The eighth-year veteran is simply too talented to stay down for long and has been getting help from fellow Hornets during this minor slump.
Walker will have his hands full going against reigning NBA All-Defensive First Team guard Jrue Holiday. The UCLA product is a troublesome, 6-4 combo guard putting up career highs in scoring (20.1 PPG), rebounds (4.6), assists (8.9; second in NBA) and steals (1.6), although is shooting a personal-low 26.6 percent from three (career 35.5 percent). Expect the Hornets to try and keep Holiday out of the lane and disrupt his passing lanes to Davis, Randle and Nikola Mirotić.
Game Note – The Hornets have lost four straight games to the Pelicans since the start of the 2016-17 season, although the average margin of defeat has been only 4.3 points per contest. New Orleans has lost five of its last six games overall entering this contest.
Classic Fact – Charlotte won its first-ever meeting with New Orleans in overtime, 94-93, back on Dec. 14, 2004. The game featured three New Orleans players (David Wesley, P.J. Brown and George Lynch) that were on the final Charlotte Hornets roster prior to relocating two years earlier.