Coming off a nice win last night against the red hot Orlando Magic, the Hornets have no time to celebrate. The Hornets jump back into action tonight, with 4 more games in the next 7 nights. Charlotte enters week 3 at a respectable 3-3, which currently puts them at 8th in the Eastern Conference. Considering the number of injuries that the team has had, the record is ok for this early in the season. The team continues to be without Nicolas Batum, but all of the early season injuries have given opportunities to other players on the team.
Charlotte seems to have clearly won the Dwight Howard trade, as the new center is averaging nearly 16 points and 16 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky has looked more confident this year, and has been anchoring the second unit. Rookies Dwayne Bacon and Malik Monk have had their moments as well. This week will be a test for this team as they face some tough competition.
at Memphis, 8:00 pm ET — Monday, October 30
Matchup: The Memphis Grizzlies currently have the best record in the NBA. As they have for years, they continue to be anchored by point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. Missing this year is Zack Randolph who left in the offseason. For years Memphis has been built around being physical with players such as Randolph (and Tony Allen), and playing a grind it out style of offense. The team let Randolph leave as part of a shift this offseason to a more open, modern NBA style. So far, the results have been good.
Key Stat: In the first six games of the season, the Memphis bench is outscoring their counterparts by 20 points per game. Chandler Parsons, a player who has struggled with injuries, has found a spot in the rotation and contributed to the scoring as a reserve. When the Hornets dealing with so many injuries, the second unit will be tested greatly.
vs Milwaukee, 7:00 pm ET — Wednesday, November 1
Matchup: After playing in Milwaukee last week the Hornets welcome the Bucks to Charlotte to try and even the season series at 1-1. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like an early season candidate for MVP, averaging close to 35 points and 11 rebounds per game. Charlotte had a tough time handling him in the earlier matchup as he went for 32 and 14. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed the first game with these two twams, will have his hands full in this one.
Key Stat: Last time out Charlotte was even with Milwaukee, until the Bucks ended the game on a 9-0 run. Charlotte could not find any offense down the stretch, and Dwight Howard’s free throw shooting was a liability as he was intentionally fouled several times and went 0-10 from the free throw line. Cody Zeller’s return should enable for flexibility in late game situations.
Matchup: The Spurs have not felt like the Spurs yet this season, as they have yet to play Tony Parker or Kawai Leonard. They still move the ball very well and have a nice early record of 4-2. San Antonio is always prepared, and Charlotte will have to be focused, no matter what players are available for the Spurs. San Antonio has been a model of consistency, as they have won at least 50 games each season for the last 18 years.
Key Stat: Charlotte has struggled over the years against great three point shooting teams. Part of the reason for that is the team emphasizing interior defense heavily. Last year San Antonio lead the league in three point percentage. Charlotte will need to guard the line closely.
at Minnesota, 8:00 pm ET — Sunday, November 5
Matchup: Minnesota is a team that was supposed to make the move this season from nice young talent to playoff team. The team traded for All-Star Jimmy Butler to jump start the process. So far, the team is still stuck in mediocrity. The team is 3-3, but two of those losses have been ugly blowouts. The team is too talented and should get better as the season progresses, hopefully after November 5th though.
Key Stat: Jimmy Butler put 52 on the Hornets last year in a win for Chicago. Charlotte will face him this year without Nicolas Batum. The team must do a better job this year playing him defensively.