Charlotte has been very up and down all season long, not able to keep it consistent. Kemba Walker continues to shine bright like a diamond, while they can’t get other guys to be reliable with him.
Portland, on the other hand, continues to impress, now sitting in the #4 spot in the West. Dame and CJ, along with Nurk, have proved to be a terrific trio, one capable of posting monster numbers nightly.
The #9 scoring offense in the league, Charlotte is able to post big offensive numbers, but their defense has not been too good. They are #21 in points allowed. Kemba is averaging 25 points and six assists per game, shooting 44% from the floor, and Jeremy Lamb has been solid too, with his 15 points per game. Marvin Williams and sixth-man Malik Monk are the only other guys averaging in double-figures however. They are paying Nicolas Batum $24 million this year, and he’s averaging 9-5-3, only shooting the ball seven times per game. He has really regressed.
The center position has been their weakest, and with Cody Zeller out it has become even more apparent. Bismack Biyombo has been getting some run as starter, with Hernangomez backing him up. Neither guy has consistently poured in consistent contributions. Tony Parker has impressed as Kemba’s trusty backup, but again, there is so much that could be better with this group. In a contract year for Walker, they have to show they can make a little noise in a top-heavy East.
They are the definition of a middle-of-the-pack team. #15 in scoring, #15 in points allowed, and the fifth seed in the West. Dame is posting 27 points per game, with CJ at 21. Nurkic is averaging a double-double and sharing the ball well. Their bench has had some great moments, but nothing to carry them to regular wins. They could really consider going back to Jake Layman as a starter over Harkless, as he has had some very good moments for these guys this season. Anyway, the lack of consistency from Sauce Castillo has not helped in the slightest.
They had a game with the Warriors where Seth Curry actually outperformed his brother, which was a sight to behold. On another bench note, they are surely missing both Shabazz Napier and Ed Davis, who powered that unit last season, giving them great minutes as well as production. Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins have been solid, but Ed Davis is still a guy who would be great if he was still here and not in Brooklyn.
Portland wins their fourth game in their past five
Sorry Hornets, another loss is coming. Portland is 17-7 at home and usually turns away their opponents. Kemba’s 35 points will not quite match Damian Lillard’s 40, as the Blazers will be picking up their 26th victory of the season!
Free Pick: Trail Blazers
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