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Hornets Return Home to Face Hawks Again

By Sam Perley

  • Charlotte Hornets (4-5) vs. Atlanta Hawks (4-4) 
  • Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Fox Sports Southeast, FOX Sports GO App and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Hornets won, 102-94 on Jan. 6, 2021 in Atlanta

Charlotte’s Offense Gets Going in New Orleans   

After enduring a rocky opening quarter in which they were outscored by 16 points, the Hornets regrouped over the final three frames for a comeback win against New Orleans last night thanks in large part to their offense and opportunistic point production. Charlotte outscored the Pelicans, 71-51, in the second half, while shooting 52% from the field and 13-of-23 from three-point range (57%). The offense has been a work in progress thus far as the team continues to adjust to a newer style of play this season, although perhaps yesterday’s 118-point outburst is a good sign that things are beginning to turn for the better. 

Expect Adjustments from Both the Hawks and Hornets 

One of the nuances of the 2020-21 NBA season is the increased amount of games taking place consecutively against the same team and often times, in the same city. Charlotte was in New Orleans last night, but the Hawks haven’t played since Wednesday’s meeting with the Hornets and how both teams approach a second showdown in four days will be an interesting element in this contest. Look for the Hawks to get Trae Young more involved after a quiet seven-point, seven-turnover outing the first time around, while Charlotte needs more from a bench unit that was outscored by 13 and shot just 6-of-22 (27%) and 1-of-10 from three down in Atlanta. 

Stay Focused on the Rebounding Front

The Hawks clawed their way back from a 24-point deficit in Wednesday night’s game thanks to a superb effort on the boards led by Clint Capela (season-high 19 rebounds), John Collins (11) and De’Andre Hunter (6). Atlanta ended up finishing plus-eight in rebounding (57-49) and outscored Charlotte by 10 in second-chance points (20-10). The Hornets looked far better in this area against New Orleans with a 45-36 rebounding differential and 26 second-chance points scored and hopefully, the physicality and momentum will carry over into tonight’s game against the Atlanta frontcourt. 

Preview Quote

“I love that [our players] don’t give in. They never drop the sword. We keep fighting, we keep competing and we figure it out. We’re not going to win every game, but we’re going to continue to fight and compete and fight for one another.” – Head Coach James Borrego  

Final Thoughts

Two areas that have alluded the Hornets so far this season – offensive efficiency and rebounding/paint presence – looked as sharp as ever in the team’s road-trip-ending win last night against the Pelicans. It’s a quick turnaround against a rested Hawks squad that has its eyes set on redemption and the Hornets will need another strong start plus sustained play the rest of the game in order to notch a third consecutive victory tonight at Spectrum Center.  

Additional Notes 

 F Danilo Gallinari (right ankle sprain), G Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery), F Onyeka Okongwu (left foot inflammation) and G Rajon Rondo (right knee injury maintenance) are all out for Atlanta. G Tony Snell (right foot inflammation) is questionable to play… The Hawks have dropped three straight games after starting the season 4-1… The Hornets are 9-2 at home against Atlanta since the start of the 2014-15 campaign (lost the most recent meeting at Spectrum Center, 122-107, on Dec. 8, 2019). 

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