Charlotte Hornets Look to Win Second Straight as They Host the Toronto Raptors

After finally snapping their five-game losing streak last time out, the Charlotte Hornets will look to make it two in a row as they take on the Raptors.

The Charlotte Hornets (21-21) are set to face off against the Toronto Raptors (28-14) in the second game of their five-game homestand. Charlotte will host one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference in this one as they look to prove that they can hang with the big boys. Steve Clifford’s side won their last game against the Portland Trail Blazers and they will attempt to string together a few wins after their recent struggles.

In their last match, the Raptors fell to the Philadelphia 76ers as their four-game win streak came to an end. Toronto is one of only four teams in the East that are above .500 away from home this season (13-8). They are currently the second-best team in their conference and according to many, the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers this year.

Not only is this an important home game for the Hornets because they are desperate for wins at the moment but also because it could be a big momentum shifter. A victory over one of the best teams in the NBA could give Charlotte confidence going forward while also proving to everyone that they can take down a top team. They are currently 0-7 against the likes of the Cavs, the Raptors, and the Boston Celtics this season.

Charlotte Hornets vs Toronto Raptors
7:00 p.m. EST, Friday, January 20th, 2017
Spectrum Center
Broadcast on FOX Sports Southeast

Injury Report:

CHA:

Jeremy Lamb (metatarsal inflammation) – TBD

TOR:

Lucas Nogueira – Out – NBA concussion protocol

Patrick Patterson – Questionable – Sore left knee

Jared Sullinger – Out – Left foot surgery

Delon Wright – Out – Right shoulder surgery

Biggest Story:

Bad Habits vs a Good Team

The Hornets are a team full of bad habits, especially as of late. They are a good team but the Raptors are even better. Toronto is at or near the top of the league in almost every key stat category this season. They are third in PPG, fifth in FG%, second in three-point percentage, second in steals, and tied with Charlotte for the lowest turnovers per game.

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The team’s defense hasn’t been great as the Hornets have allowed 100+ points in eight of their last nine games. They did better in their previous outing against the Blazers but this is a dangerous Raptors team. Charlotte will need to do almost everything right if they want to pull off this upset.

Matchup to Watch:

Kemba Walker/Nicolas Batum vs Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan

This one is going to be a great matchup between two of the best backcourts in the NBA. While Lowry and DeRozan are both going to be all-stars and on a completely different level when compared to Kemba and Nic, the Hornets’ combo is still effective. Toronto’s backcourt averages 50.4 PPG while Charlotte’s combine for 38 PPG a night.

Charlotte’s duo will probably need to outscore, out-assist, and completely outplay Kyle and DeMar for their side to have their best chance in this game. The Hornets will only go as far as their two stars take them so they will need big games from both Walker and Batum. This backcourt matchup will surely determine the outcome.

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