Charlotte has been very up and down this year, but it’s been all down of late. They have a 0.5 game lead on the Magic for the #8 spot in the East, as they try to make a playoff push. They don’t have any injuries to use as an excuse.
San Antonio, on the other hand, still sits at the #7 spot. They have played very well of late, and have a number of guys riding some serious hot streaks, including ex-Hornet Marco Belinelli.
The #11 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. 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.
As usual, they play at a slow pace, but they have been able to get it done. They finally got Pau Gasol back, after he missed multiple months with a foot injury. DeRozan is averaging 22-6-6 for the year and has continued to impress. His All-Star spot is not guaranteed in this conference, but he has established himself as a real leader for the group. Derrick White has also been coming on of late, providing stability at the small-forward spot.
The biggest issue with this team is that they only have four consistent three-point shooters, and three of them come off the bench. Bertans, Mills, and Belinelli have fueled the second unit with their sharpshooting, but only Bryn Forbes, among the starters, has found consistent success. They do shoot the highest percentage in the league and are #2 in free-throw percentage. If one more guy can start burying threes, oh boy.
Spurs knock off the Hornets in Borrego’s reunion
Hornets coach James Borrego is on the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, but he can’t beat his mentor tonight. A monster performance from LaMarcus Aldridge will do more than enough to power SA to the win tonight.
Kemba will go for 40 in this game, but he won’t have enough help from his guys to get CHA the W.
Free Pick: Spurs
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