Charlotte Hornets Look to Close Out Road Trip Out West With a Win in Utah

After losing six consecutive games, the Charlotte Hornets will look to end their road trip on a high note as they take on the Jazz in Utah.

The Charlotte Hornets (23-27) are set to take on the Utah Jazz (31-19) as they close out their three-game road trip out west. Coming into this one, they have lost six straight and nine consecutive away from home. They are not in the best of form but Charlotte’s desperate for a win and desperation can do a lot for a team in need of a victory.

In Utah’s last outing, they were able to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks at home. Despite being fifth in the West, the Jazz is only 2-3 in their last five games and are 2-1 in their current homestand. The two sides have only met once earlier this season with the Hornets coming out on top in Charlotte all the way back on November 9th.

Since then, the two teams have headed in different directions with Utah shooting up to the top-five in the West while Charlotte continues to drop games. After spending the better part of the first half of the season securely in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets are currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. Depending on the circumstances, we may see Miles Plumlee and Ray McCallum make their debuts for Charlotte.

Charlotte Hornets @ Utah Jazz
9:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, February 4th, 2017
Vivint Smart Home Arena
Broadcast on FOX Sports Southeast

Injury Report:

CHA:

OUT – Ramon Sessions (torn lateral meniscus)
DOUBTFUL – Cody Zeller (quad contusion), missed last five games (1/25 – 2/1)
QUESTIONABLE – Kemba Walker (illness)

UTA:

Rodney Hood – OUT (right knee bone contusion/LCL sprain)

Biggest Story:

Can the Hornets Score Enough?

While Charlotte has averaged 105.2 points per game this season, that only ranks 16th in the league. They are not a great scoring team and are only averaging 104 PPG over their six-game losing streak. So why is this a big deal if their scoring numbers aren’t that bad?

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Because the Jazz is the best defensive team in the NBA. They are only allowing 95.3 PPG to their opponents this season. They are only one of three teams allowing under 100 PPG and their mark is over three points better than the San Antonio Spurs‘ defense. With the Hornets being shorthanded, it may be difficult for them to score in this one.

Matchup to Watch:

Frank Kaminsky vs Rudy Gobert

With Cody Zeller out and Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes just being traded, Frank Kaminsky will get the start at center for Charlotte. That wouldn’t be that big of a deal but it is when he has to go one-on-one with Rudy Gobert. It will be a tough matchup for the Hornets as The Tank has mostly played as a power forward during his NBA career.

The Stifle Tower is one of the longest and most dominating big men in the league today. Utah will have a decisive advantage down low but if Kaminsky and the Charlotte Hornets can limit Gobert’s impact on the offensive end because Frank isn’t a great defender, then it will give the road team a better chance at snapping their losing streak. Steve Clifford’s side may also be shorthanded down low as Mike Tobey is the only other center on the roster. (Waiting for Plumlee to be cleared before the game.)

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