Hornets Return Home to Host Visiting Trail Blazers

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (27-28) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (32-23)
  • Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7 PM EST (Spectrum Center)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Blazers won, 123-111 on March 1, 2021 in Portland, OR

Charlotte’s Offense Looks Better in Loss to Brooklyn

After averaging just over 94 points scored while getting swept on their three-game homestand last week, the Hornets’ offense finally came to life in a closer-than-it-looked 130-115 road loss to the Nets on Friday night. Miles Bridges scored a career-high 33 points and tied a career high with six threes, Terry Rozier had 27 points and rookie Vernon Carey Jr. finished with a surprising 21 points in his first career NBA start for the short-handed squad. Charlotte ended the night with a 53% field-goal percentage – its highest in a single game since March 24 – and hopefully has finally found some elusive scoring rhythm.

Portland Gets Two Key Players Back, Adds Norm Powell at Deadline

Both second-leading scorer CJ McCollum and center Jusuf Nurkić were out with injuries for Portland when these two teams first squared off last month in Rip City. McCollum is averaging 20.9 points on 43% shooting and 4.5 assists in 17 games since returning from a broken foot on March 16, while his Bosnian teammate is putting up 8.3 points on 49% shooting and 7.3 rebounds in nine outings following a fractured wrist. Portland also recently traded Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to Toronto in exchange for Norman Powell (17.2 points on 45% shooting in 11 games), giving the Blazers a more revamped look in tonight’s season series finale.

Blazers’ Defense Not Keeping Up with Team’s Offensive Production

Portland enters this matchup boasting the NBA’s sixth-best offensive rating (115.9), although sits ahead of only the Sacramento Kings in defensive rating (116.0). Currently allowing the third-fewest points off turnovers per game (14.7), the Blazers have actually held their own in transition – it’s been in the halfcourt where they’ve struggled (second-worst defensive rating per CleaningtheGlass.com). Charlotte’s offense appeared to be in much more of a relative groove up in Brooklyn and should look to take advantage of a leaky Portland defense that has struggled to get spots throughout the season.

Preview Quote

“Coach [Borrego] wants me to be more aggressive, so I’ve been trying to put the ball in the hole more. I was just staying aggressive. A lot of my shots were falling. My teammates did a good job of finding me – Brad [Wanamaker], Terry [Rozier]. Guys were making cuts to get me open, setting good screens for me. I felt like it was a team effort.” – Miles Bridges following his career-high 33-point game in Brooklyn on Friday night

Final Thoughts

Charlotte’s losing streak reached a season-high-tying four games following its road loss to the Nets, although Carey’s breakout performance and getting more overall consistent point production were certainly a couple positive takeaways. Ending this skid tonight against the visiting Blazers will once again come down to a strong start, taking advantage of easier offensive opportunities and competing for a full 48 minutes.

Additional Notes

Portland G Damian Lillard (right hamstring tendinopathy) did not play on Friday night in San Antonio. Through April 16, Lillard ranks third in the NBA in both scoring (28.7 PPG) and total three-point field goals (212 on 38% shooting)… Charlotte has lost each of the last seven head-to-head meetings with Portland (most recent win: Jan. 18, 2017 at home)… Tonight’s game is part of a two-game road trip for the Trail Blazers… Portland is just 3-5 this month after going 11-4 in March… The Hornets have lost each of their last three Sunday games.

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