Hornets Prep for Another Meeting with Warriors in Bay Area

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (15-16) at Golden State Warriors (18-15)
  • Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 at 10 PM EST (Chase Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 102-100 on Feb. 20, 2021 in Charlotte

Clutch Hornets Complete Comeback with Impressive Victory in Phoenix

Down 17 in the second quarter, Charlotte closed out the first half on a 26-10 run and then gained just enough control down the stretch to squeeze out a 124-121 road win in Phoenix on Wednesday night. The victory moved the Hornets into a fourth-place tie for the NBA’s best clutch-time win percentage this year (.667; 10-5) as they also lead the league with an absurd 51.4 net rating during this window of play. There’s been a number of notable storylines revolving around the team this season, although the ability for this relatively young roster to continuously close out tight games might be the most impressive of them all.

Warriors Seeking Revenge Following Stunning Loss in Charlotte

Speaking of clutch-time performances, the Hornets’ most recent such victory prior to Wednesday evening took place just last Saturday against tonight’s opponent back at Spectrum Center. Down two with nine seconds left, Charlotte grabbed a jump ball, drained two game-tying free throws after a Draymond Green double-technical ejection and then got a buzzer-beating corner jumper from Terry Rozier, who finished the night with 36 points. It was an absolutely bizarre game-ending sequence of events and something neither team – particularly the Warriors – have forgotten about given the short turnaround between seeing each other.

Look for Golden State to Have Curry, Wiseman Back in the Fold

Lost a bit in the chaos in their first meeting with Charlotte was the fact that the Warriors had neither two-time MVP Steph Curry (illness) nor prized rookie center James Wiseman (sprained wrist) available for the contest. Both players returned to face the Knicks on Monday night, putting up 37 points and 14 points off the bench, respectively, in an eight-point road win. Curry currently sits second in the NBA in scoring (30.0 PPG) and the now-reserve Wiseman is averaging 13 points and five rebounds over his last six outings. Look for the pair to provide Golden State with more scoring, floor spacing and paint play than it had last week.

Preview Quote

“The players are comfortable in this moment. They feel poised, confident and then play, shoot and defend that way. They execute what we’re trying to get accomplished down the stretch and a lot of it started last year. We spent a lot of time on our end-of-game situations the last two minutes, last three minutes. It’s a combination of trust, confidence and execution. At the end of the day, you have to step up and make plays and make shots and our guys deserve a ton of credit in those scenarios.” – Coach Borrego on the team’s clutch-time play this season

Final Thoughts

Whenever a team is confronted with a daunting six-game, All-Western Conference road trip, it always feels great getting that first victory out of the way early and the Hornets did just that against a very good Phoenix Suns squad. Tonight’s rematch with Golden State will be a bit more challenging with Curry active, although cutting down on the 24 turnovers registered last Saturday night could go a long way towards Charlotte sweeping the season series.

Additional Notes

G Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella femoral discomfort) has missed Charlotte’s last three games, while G Caleb Martin (Health and Safety Protocols) has been unavailable for the last five. Cody Zeller (left hip contusion) exited in the second half on Wednesday night and did not return… The Hornets are looking to win a fourth consecutive head-to-head meeting with the Warriors for the first time since Dec. 8, 1999 – Jan. 3, 2002 (won six straight).

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