Hornets Targeting Bounce-Back Win Against Cavaliers
By Sam Perley
Following probably the toughest loss of the season on Thursday evening, the Hornets now turn their focus to tonight’s home matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which begins at 7 p.m. ET at Spectrum Center.
Charlotte raced out to a 19-point second-half lead against the Thunder two days ago, only to have its defense crumble down the stretch in defeat. The team’s defensive rating in the fourth quarter is currently 119.6, which is the fifth-worst mark in the league through Nov. 1.
Known primarily as an offensive facilitator, Nic Batum’s defense rating has actually been the second-best mark on the team this season (102.0). The 10-year veteran has been stuffing the box score on a nightly basis with averages of 10.7 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals over nine total outings.
Batum’s matchup against the Cavaliers will feature plenty of time on second-year NBA player, Cedi Osman, who is firmly in the middle of the organization’s youth movement following LeBron James’ departure. The Macedonian-born, Turkish National Teamer has two 20-point games already this season, although is oddly shooting better from three (41.0 percent) than the field (38.4 percent).
Interesting Note – Through Nov. 1, the Hornets are currently sitting sixth in the NBA in three-point field goals per game (12.8), while Cleveland is last (7.6). The Cavaliers finished the 2017-18 season ranked third in the league in this category (12.0).
Classic Fact – The first game in Charlotte Hornets franchise history was at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 4, 1988 (nearly 30 years to the day, in fact). The Hornets lost, 133-93, to a team that included Larry Nance, whose son, Larry Nance Jr., is a current member of the Cavaliers roster.