Hornets, Spurs Set for Sunday Showdown in Charlotte

by Quinton Wash
  • Charlotte Hornets (13-14) vs. San Antonio Spurs (15-11)
  • Sunday, Feb. 14, 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: Spurs won, 104-103 on March 3, 2020 in Charlotte

Hornets Come Up Clutch Despite Adversity on Friday Night

The Charlotte Hornets endured a bizarre experience on Friday with all-day COVID-19 contact tracing disrupting much of their preparation for that night’s outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite having PJ Washington, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin ruled out shortly before tipoff, the team still found a way to prevail in the closing minutes for a 120-114 victory. Through Feb. 12, the Hornets now rank seventh in the NBA in clutch-time winning percentage (8-5; .615), an area they finished 13th in last season (17-17; .500) and 20th in 2018-19 (18-21; .462).

Terry Rozier’s 41-PT Game vs. Minnesota Highlights Recent Run

Since returning from an ankle injury five games ago on Feb. 5, Terry Rozier has averaged an outstanding 26.8 points on 57% shooting, while also converting 50% of his three-point attempts (22-of-44). The sixth-year guard has consecutive 30-point games (34 and 41) in the same season for the first time in his career and has now cracked the NBA’s top-15 leaderboard in three-point percentage (career-high 45% on 7.6 attempts per game). Rozier has simply been fantastic this season and will look to keep rolling against a Spurs team that’s currently allowing its opponents to convert the fifth-highest percentage from deep in the league (38.8%).

Points Off Turnovers Could Be Few and Far Between Against Spurs

No team in the NBA has a lower giveaway percentage (11.0%) or is allowing fewer points off turnover (13.7) than the Spurs this season. And at the moment, six San Antonio players (DeMar DeRozan, Derrick White, Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell and LaMarcus Aldridge) hold an assist-to-turnover ratio over 2.0. As for the hosts, Charlotte sits fourth in the NBA in points scored off takeaways (19.6), a significant rise from last season’s 21st-place finish (16.2). The Hornets will either need to be overly disruptive on the defensive end against the conservative Spurs, or find other avenues to generate offense in this matchup.

Preview Quote

“Being around my guys gives me joy. They’re a fun group. I love coming to practice every day, learning from them, teaching them. I just love being around their energy and their spirit. The additions that we have added to our team have really brought that to our group even more. This was already a good group, but then you add Gordon and LaMelo and some youth, it’s a very exciting team to be around.” – Head Coach James Borrego.

Final Thoughts

While Friday’s win over Minnesota won’t necessarily jump off the pages at face value, it arguably was one of Charlotte’s most resilient and perhaps important victories so far this season. The competition level gets turned up a notch tonight against an experienced Spurs squad, although the young Hornets just continue to prove they can compete with anybody, regardless of the situation.

Additional Notes

Both G Cody Martin and G Caleb Martin (Health and Safety Protocols) are out for Charlotte. F PJ Washington (same) is doubtful to play… F/C LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip flexor soreness) has missed San Antonio’s last five games… The Spurs have won four of their last five and are on the second leg of a seven-game road trip (won in Atlanta, 125-114, on Friday night)… Charlotte lost both games to the Spurs last year after pulling off the season sweep in 2018-19.

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