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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Charlotte Hornets Preview

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The Blazers look to keep it going on the road.

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NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (32-23) vs. Charlotte Hornets (27-28)

The Portland Trail Blazers play the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte for their second road game in a row. The Blazers are looking for their second straight win after defeating the Spurs. The Hornets are looking to regain momentum after losing their last four games in a row.

Sunday, April 18 - 4:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Damian Lillard (out)
Hornets injuries: LaMelo Ball (out), Gordon Hayward (out), PJ Washington (out), Malik Monk (out), Devonte’ Graham (questionable), Nate Darling (questionable)

SBN Affiliate: At The Hive

What To Watch For

  • Ball Movement. The Blazers rank dead last in assists, averaging only 20.5 per game this season, whereas the Hornets are tied for sixth in the league at 26.7. In their last two games, the Blazers have averaged 26.5 assists, including 23 in a game without Damian Lillard who leads the team in assists. The Hornets’ offense thrives on moving the ball to get the best shot available, and the defensive disruptions that the Blazers possess, like Robert Covington, could throw a wrench in those plans.
  • Three Point Shooting. Both the Blazers and Hornets are top ten in both three point makes per game, and three point percentage, with Portland ranking second and sixth in the league respectively, and Charlotte ranking eighth and ninth respectively. Both teams rely heavily on the outside shot, and have star players that like to live behind the three point line. Perimeter defense, as well as which team’s shot is on, could determine who wins and who loses this game.
  • CJ McCollum. McCollum hasn’t produced at the same level he was before his injury since his return to action, but he has shown flashes of the player he was early in this season. He scored 29 points against the Spurs in a game which Lillard did not play. Since Lillard will sit this one out as well, McCollum will once again be called upon to take the starting point guard role, as well as the role of the primary facilitator.

What Others Are Saying

Zachary F Brown of At The Hive talks about Miles Bridges’ career high night against the Nets in the Hornets’ last game.

Miles Bridges had one of those games where you can glimpse greatness. Not only was he putting the ball in the basket, setting a career high in points scored (33) and tied a career high in 3-pointers made (6). He was also efficient, cresting 60% from the arc and 73% from the field. He took the reins of the Hornets offense and was able to show what is possible when he is uber engaged and draining his shots.

Rick Bonnell of Charlotte Observer highlighted rookie Vernon Carey after his first start of his career against the Nets, and quotes Hornets coach James Borrego talking about adding Carey into the lineup for the rest of the season.

“Based on what I saw tonight, I’ve got to look very hard at Vernon” the rest of the season, Borrego said, after Carey’s NBA debut as a starter.

Carey was stunningly good with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, plus six rebounds.

The Hornets selected former the former Duke center early in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft, and prior to Friday he had amassed all of 33 minutes. He played 35 minutes in the 130-115 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, and totally looked like he belonged.