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Game 35: Hornets at Suns


Charlotte Hornets vs Phoenix Suns

Wed Jan 6, 9:00 PM EST – FSAZ, FSSE

Line: CHA -2.5, O/U: 203.5

Talking Stick Resort Arena – Phoenix, AZ

Recent Matchups

Ranks

  • 103.4 ORTG (9)
  • 101.3 DRTG (10)
  • 98.2 Pace (15)
  • 79.5 DRB% (2)
  • 0.537 TS% (14)

Latest Results

Leaders

  • Kemba Walker 19.3 ppg
  • Marvin Williams 6.8 rpg
  • Nicolas Batum 5.2 apg
  • Marvin Williams 1.1 bpg
  • Kemba Walker 1.8 spg

Ranks

  • 100.9 ORTG (24)
  • 105.4 DRTG (25)
  • 101.0 Pace (3)
  • 76.9 DRB% (11)
  • 0.538 TS% (13)

Latest Results

Leaders

  • Brandon Knight 19.6 ppg
  • Tyson Chandler 7.3 rpg
  • Brandon Knight 5.3 apg
  • Alex Lin 0.9 bpg
  • Brandon Knight 1.4 spg

Hornets @ Suns, 9:00p ET, FSS

Both teams will see tonight’s game as a chance to stop their recent tailspins: Charlotte’s lost four in a row and seven of their last ten, while Phoenix has lost a dire nine games straight. The Suns are the obvious longshot, sitting at 12-25 overall and in disarray after a weird back-and-forth in the media between owner Robert Sarver and Markieff Morris that led to the power forward’s benching, but a desperate team is a desperate team.

On paper, though, this is a good matchup for Charlotte. The Suns have one of the worst defenses in the league, ranking sixth-worst in defensive rating and dead last in opponent eFG% according to NBA.com/Stats, and their offense hasn’t been much better. Eric Bledsoe, their best player, has torn the meniscus in his knee and will sit for the rest of the season. While they have another very capable point guard in Brandon Knight (19.6 points, 5.3 assists) and a solid rookie shooting guard in Devin Booker, that’ll obviously hurt depth and the overall talent level.

Still, Charlotte’s own injuries make this complicated than it should be. The Hornets have been terrible on both offense and defense over the last ten games, and Jeremy Lamb’s injury on Monday against the Warriors won’t help that. It’s possible we’ll see Nic Batum return tonight, but he’s currently listed as questionable. Al Jefferson remains out. They’ll need another high-scoring game from Kemba Walker, and hopefully the defense can start coming together.

Key Matchup

Kemba Walker vs. Brandon Knight feels like the obvious choice. Both lead their teams in points (despite sometimes sub-par shooting percentages) and are willing but mediocre passers. With injuries to other key scorers, both will need to have standout nights to give their team a shot at victory.

Injuries

Hornets: Al Jefferson (knee), Out; Jeremy Lamb (wrist), Out; Nic Batum (toe), Questionable

Suns: Eric Bledsoe (knee), Out

Prediction

With so many moving pieces there’s potential for an upset, but I think Charlotte manages this one relatively comfortably. 104-96, Hornets.