The short-handed Hornets will pay a visit to Brooklyn on Friday for a date with the Nets. After occupying a spot inside the top six for the previous several weeks, the Hornets have slipped back to the #6 spot. As Miami and Atlanta have been winning nonstop, these guys have been struggling with some major injuries to the best players.
When LaMelo Ball went down, it was horrible but manageable. They still had Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier to at least keep them playing well enough to be able to win. When Gordon Hayward got hurt on top of that, though, it started to look bleak. The team is also without score-first guard Malik Monk and talented second-year forward PJ Washington. It’s hard to win when your past players aren’t in the lineup.
Brooklyn also got some bad news this week, as newly-signed center LaMarcus Aldridge announced his retirement rather abruptly on Thursday. It turns out that when he last played on Sat. April 10, he did so with an irregular heartbeat. He’s putting his health first and making sure he can live a long, healthier life by not risking it. He made the right choice, and everybody around the league is wishing him well. What a career.
Odds: The Nets are heavy favorites, the spread set at BK -13.5. The over/under is 224 points.
Hornets Seek Monumental Win
Charlotte lost to the Cavs a few days ago, scoring only 90 points along the way. A number of the players they are relying heavily on to produce are supposed to be the end-of-the-bench options, who come in and provide 5-10 minutes of relief at a time, not 30-35 minutes. Between the Martin twins and Jaden McDaniels, there have been a lot more opportunities of late.
Terry Rozier hasn’t been playing as well, now that there is more focus and attention on him. He worked better with Ball next to him, each guy able to draw a lot of attention. 21 points per game is sitting on the bench every night when Hayward is unable to suit up, too.
If they pull this win off, it would not only be a huge upset; it would give them some major momentum.
Brooklyn Looks to Bounce Back
You will not find anybody outside of Philly who doesn’t call Brooklyn’s last loss a win. Wait what? Yes. They trailed by 24 in the fourth quarter, and then without Kyrie Irving (for the final eight mins), Kevin Durant, or James Harden, they managed to get the deficit down to just three. The backups worked their tails off to make it interesting on national TV.
Alize Johnson has continued to shine for the team since signing about a month ago, while Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown have provided tremendous minutes. The sudden retirement of Aldridge means two things. DeAndre Jordan will probably occupy a rotation spot, and Nicolas Claxton may well become the starting center for the Brooklyn Nets.
Durant and Irving should be back in the lineup for this one.
Nets Win Big
The Nets will cover the spread. You heard it here first. A drubbing awaits.
FREE PLAY: BK -13.5
OVER/UNDER: OVER 225
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