Game Preview: Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers – November 13th, 2016
STARTING LINEUP CHANGE: J.R. Smith is out with a tweaked ankle – Mike Dunleavy will start in his place.
After a milestone-filled win against the Washington Wizards – where LeBron James became the youngest player to score 27,000, Kyrie Irving became the 9th highest scorer on the Cavalier’s Franchise Points Scored list, and J.R. Smith became the 16th player to ever make 1,700 three pointers over his career – the Cleveland Cavaliers look to take on the Charlotte Hornets, who are 6-2 on the season.
The Hornets are fresh off of a two-point loss at home to the Toronto Raptors, where Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker put up a resounding 40 points, secured 10 rebounds, and dished out six assists. It was the first game that they allowed their opponent to score over 105 points – the Charlotte Hornets currently have the third best defensive efficiency in the league.
The Hornets excel on the defensive board, pulling down 37.0 per game – the highest in the NBA. They’ve also been committed to contesting shots out on the three point arc instead of giving opponents room, as they contest the most three point shots per game and allow the fourth lowest opponent three-point percentage. In addition, they’ve been able to minimize mistakes on offense, tying the Raptors for the fewest turnovers per game. To score, they average the third most “assist screens” per game – screens that lead directly to a made shot by the ball handler.
The most notable player to watch for on the Hornets will be Kemba Walker – who averages 25.9 points per game and 5.6 assists per game. Also important in today’s matchup will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who averages eight total rebounds per game and Nicolas Batum who averages 13.4 points per game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is currently going through back issues, and is a game time decision for Charlotte. If he isn’t able, his starting spot will most likely go to Treveon Graham. The Hornets certainly will provide a challenging matchup as they can play with similar pace and can pressure the three point line. It may come down to a point guard show down between Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, each teams’ respective leading scorer.
Tipoff is set for 3:30 PM EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio.