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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Charlotte Hornets Preview

The road trip continues with an early one against Charlotte.

Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers (7-3) vs. Charlotte Hornets (3-8)

The Portland Trail Blazers did it again. After trailing by as much as 15 against the Miami Heat in Miami, a fourth quarter comeback was sealed with a Josh Hart corner three buzzer beater. Final score: 110-107.

The Charlotte Hornets, losers of their last five, already have fans talking about jump-starting the tank. They’ve had significant injuries, and the Miles Bridges situation certainly hasn’t helped at all, but at least at the moment they just aren’t very good. With LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward out this is a golden opportunity for the Blazers to rack up another win and guarantee at least a .500 road trip.

Wednesday, November 9 - 4:00 p.m. PT

How to watch on TV: Root Sports Plus, NBA League Pass

Blazers injuries: Dame Lillard (probable), Jerami Grant (probable), Ant Simons (probable) Jusuf Nurkic (probable), Justise Winslow (probable), John Butler (probable), Gary Payton II (out), Olivier Saar (out)

Hornets injuries: LaMelo Ball (out), Gordon Hayward (out), Cody Martin (doubtful)

SBN Affiliate: At The Hive

The Matchup

Rebounding. The Hornets don’t have a lot of stats they can point to with pride, but they are a top 5 team in the NBA in rebounding. Who leads the way for Charlotte on the glass? Our old friend Mason Plumlee, averaging 8.3 per game. On paper Portland would seem to be in the catbird seat for this matchup, but a bad night rebounding for the Blazers could give the Hornets an avenue for success.

  • They gang that can’t shoot straight. Charlotte’s traditional shooting statistics are bad. 27th in the NBA in field goal percentage, 23rd in three point percentage and 28th in free throw percentage. It gets worse when you look at advanced stats. True shooting percentage, a stat that takes into account the relative value of three, two and one point shots, has the Hornets 29th in the league. Those stats explain why Charlotte will probably lose but also point at how they could win. If they shoot like they normally do they are in trouble. If they exceed their norms they could be a tough out for the Blazers.
  • Anfernee Simons. Simons was supposedly on a minutes restriction on Monday. Since he played over 31 minutes I guess the restriction was “don’t play all of the minutes”. Simons scored 25 points, and the Blazers need all but two of them. You never know what kind of shape a player will be in after a difficult game following an injury, but barring some unannounced setback look for Anfernee to put in another solid game against the Hornets.

What Others Are Saying

As Miles Bridges has pleaded no contest and will not face jail time, the Hornets have a decision to make according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Now that the legal matter is settled, the Charlotte Hornets need to decide on Bridges’ future. The franchise acquired him on draft night in 2018 after he became the No. 12 pick. He developed into one of the team’s best players through four seasons and is a restricted free agent.

Matthew Alquiza of SI wrote up Ashley ShahAhmadi’s interview with Hornets’ GM Mitch Kupchak and covered the Miles Bridges situation, expectations and more.

“Last year we were 43-39, I don’t think anyone would expect us to go backwards. I would expect us to be better than 43-39. Does that get you in the playoffs? Does that get you out of the play in tournament? I don’t know. The east is better this year than last year. I think our record should approach…we should exceed what we did last year.”

Want an overview of what Hornets fans have to be positive about? Chase Whitney of At The Hive has you covered.

As most teams in the league surpass the 10-game mark and have played between 10 and 15 percent of the 82 games in a season, those sample sizes grow to the point where fans can start to glean from them and at least vaguely project areas in which a team may or may not excel. Of course, in our case, that’s still a slight mystery given the absence of LaMelo Ball and the games missed by Gordon Hayward, Cody Martin and Terry Rozier. Still, many Hornets that are healthy right now will be in the rotation once all of the core pieces are back in place. There’s been plenty of action that we can draw from so far, so why not take a dive into it?