After losing sensational rookie LaMelo Ball to a wrist injury, the Hornets reeled off three straight wins and have won four of their last five games. That’s an impressive record, after their starting point guard went down.
The success they have had lately has improved their record to 24-22, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
However, awaiting them are the Brooklyn Nets, who have soared to the no. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference after winning 120-108 against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
The victory came at a price as James Harden suffered a hamstring injury and was only able to play 27 minutes.
Fixture - Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Thursday, April 1st, 7:30 PM ET (Friday, April 2nd, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue - Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Charlotte Hornets Preview
The Charlotte Hornets are looking like true playoff contenders. Thanks to the strong play of guards Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier, the visitors are playing with a lot of confidence.
In their previous five games, Graham and Rozier averaged 18.6 and 24.8 points per game, respectively.
The Charlotte Hornets’ only loss came against the Phoenix Suns, a 101-97 debacle in overtime. Holding down one of the best teams in the Western Conference to only 101 points shows how much the Hornets have improved on defense. In the last five games, they have held opponents to only 100.8 points per game.
The Charlotte Hornets will have to be just as stingy against the Brooklyn Nets as they are the highest-scoring team in the league this season, with an average of 119.1 points per game.
Key Player - Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier’s best season continues to get better. Not only is he scoring at a career-high 20.7 points-a-game clip, but he’s also shooting career-bests from the field (47.6%) and from the three-point arc (41.9%).
The Charlotte Hornets guard elevated his game when Ball got injured, and his team is now near the top of the conference. Despite a few bumps along the road, Scary Terry has been consistently good this season. In mid-February, he had a run of four games in which he averaged 36.0 points per game, with a high of 41.
His duel with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will be the marquee matchup of the night and will certainly be one to watch out for.
Charlotte Hornets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Devonte’ Graham l Shooting Guard - Terry Rozier l Small Forward - Gordon Hayward Power Forward - P.J. Washington l Center - Bismack Biyombo
Brooklyn Nets Preview
The Brooklyn Nets win over the Houston Rockets was bittersweet as James Harden suffered right hamstring tightness that may keep him sidelined for a few games. As of this writing, though, he is a game-time decision.
The Nets will also miss the newly acquired LaMarcus Aldridge, who needs to work on his conditioning before he can play for his new team.
The Brooklyn Nets have won five of their last six games and are on a three-game winning streak. However, their streak and their record in the East may be in jeopardy if Harden can’t play tonight.
Kyrie Irving will be the lone superstar against the Charlotte Hornets as Kevin Durant is still at least a week away from returning.
Key Player - Kyrie Irving
Playing without Harden in the fourth quarter of the Rockets game, Kyrie Irving distributed the basketball beautifully and helped rally the Brooklyn Nets from an 18-point deficit. He finished with a season-high 12 assists, aside from scoring 31 points.
In his last four games, Irving has put up 32.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 50.5 percent from the field. The seven-time All-Star is enjoying his best season, and his team is winning at the same time.
When he goes up against Rozier, Irving will have to continue to bring his A-game as his Charlotte Hornets counterpart will be going at him from the start.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyrie Irving l Shooting Guard - Joe Harris l Small Forward - Bruce Brown l Power Forward - Jeff Green l Center - DeAndre Jordan
Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets Match Prediction
The Charlotte Hornets are not pushovers for the Brooklyn Nets to dismiss so easily. As the visiting team play their second straight road game, it will be up to the home team to keep the pressure defensively and wear out their opponents.
However, with the Charlotte Hornets’ renewed passion on the defensive end and with Harden’s condition unsure, the Brooklyn Nets are likely going to end up with a loss.