Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4931 Charlotte Hornets vs.
#4932 Toronto Raptors
Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:30pm EST
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
Written by Chris Kubala

It’s a battle of Eastern Conference teams on the parquet floor as a team north of the border embraces its new home in the Sunshine State. The Charlotte Hornets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Toronto Raptors Thursday night. Charlotte was at home on Wednesday night as they hosted the Mavericks. In their most recent contest, the Hornets rolled the Knicks 109-88 at home on Monday night. Toronto was edged 112-111 on the road by Portland Monday night in their most recent contest. The Hornets own a 45-38 advantage in the all-time regular season series though the Raptors have taken seven of the last 10 meetings. In the most recent matchup, it was the Hornets taking a 99-96 road victory on February 28, 2020.

Charlotte Hornets Close Out Back-to-Back Set on the Road

Charlotte was in action at home on Wednesday night as they hosted the Mavericks in an interconference matchup. The Hornets entered Wednesday tied for the Southeast Division lead with Orlando with a 6-5 record and had won their last four games. Charlotte is 2-1 in the second game of back-to-back situations this season though they have been outscored in those games. The Hornets have averaged 110.3 points per game in those contests while allowing 112 points per game. Charlotte is 3-3 on the road, scoring an average of 110.8 points per game while allowing 111.5 points per contest. The Hornets are 4-3 against Eastern Conference opponents: they average 108.1 points per game while allowing 108.1 points per contest in those games.

On the season, Charlotte is 24th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 108.5 points per game this season. The Hornets are 19th in the league with 43.8 rebounds per contest and lead the league with 28.9 assists per game this season. Charlotte is 8th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 107.5 points a night on the year. Terry Rozier is second on the team with 19.5 points per game on the year. Gordon Hayward puts up a team-leading 22.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and four assists per contest while LaMelo Ball chips in 12.4 points, seven rebounds and six assists a night. P.J. Washington (11.9 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Devonte’ Graham (11.6 points, 6.5 assists) all average in double figures. Bismack Biyombo, Miles Bridges, Caleb Martin, Jalen McDaniels and Cody Martin are key rotation players for Charlotte this season. Cody Zeller will be a factor but he suffered a broken thumb in the opener against Cleveland and remains out. The Hornets are 19th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.9 percent from the floor as a team on the year. Charlotte is 14th by knocking down an average of 13.1 three-pointers a night while the team is 12th in three-point shooting as they connect on 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Hornets are 21st in free throw shooting as they hit 74.5 percent of their attempts at the stripe.

Toronto Raptors Continuing to Struggle in Season’s First Month

Toronto lost for the fifth time in the last six games and suffered their second straight one-point defeat as they fell on the road at Portland. The Raptors dropped to 2-8 on the year and are in the basement of the Atlantic Division, five games behind the Celtics and 76ers for the top spot. Against Portland, Toronto led most of the way before letting it slip away. The Raptors were up 11 after the opening quarter and held a 52-35 edge with 6:53 to play in the first half only to see the Trail Blazers close the half on a 20-8 run to get within five. Toronto led by 10 after three quarters and by 13 with 8:39 to play before crumbling. The Raptors trailed by four with 1:48 to play, took the lead at 111-110 with 53.9 seconds to go on a Pascal Siakam dunk and gave up the winning bucket to CJ McCollum with 9.6 seconds to play. Toronto shot 44.9 percent from the field, including 19 of 47 from three-point range, but turned the ball over 15 times. Siakam led the Raptors with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss.

On the season, Toronto stands 18th in scoring offense as they put up an average of 111.1 points per game this season. The Raptors are 21st in rebounding with 43.5 boards a night while they are 19th by dishing out an average of 23.6 assists a night. Toronto stands 19th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 112.5 points a night. Fred VanVleet leads the team with 20.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists a night. Pascal Siakam puts up 20.4 points plus 8.8 rebounds per game while Kyle Lowry adds 19 points and 6.7 assists per game. OG Anunoby (12.6 points) and Chris Boucher (14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) are averaging in double figures. Norman Powell (10.5 points), Matt Thomas, Terence Davis, Aron Baynes and Alex Len are all looked at to help Nick Nurse’s squad. The Raptors are 26th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44 percent from the floor as a team. Toronto stands fourth by knocking down 15.6 three-pointers a night while they are 14th in three-point field goal percentage as they sink 36.4 percent of their attempts on the season.

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We’re looking at a pair of teams that have trended in opposite directions of late. Charlotte went into Wednesday winners of four in a row while Toronto has dropped five of their last six. The Raptors simply seem off and it may be the geographical change, it may be the rotation changes from last season and it may be something completely different. No one would have expected the Raptors to lose eight of their first 10 games on the year. Charlotte may be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation here but the Hornets are playing solid basketball on both ends of late. The Hornets take advantage of a struggling Toronto team to deliver a road victory.

Prediction: Charlotte Hornets

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Charlotte has been solid on the defensive end, especially during this win streak. The Hornets have been making life tough for opposing teams as far as getting good looks at the basket. Charlotte is fourth in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense (33 percent) while they are 12th in field goal percentage defense (45.2 percent) this season. The Hornets don’t run much, ranking 21st in pace with 99.8 possessions per game. Toronto is 10th in the league in that category with 101.5 possessions a night. That’s the problem though: despite going at a fast tempo, the Raptors still struggle to put points on the board. With Charlotte playing the second game of a back-to-back, this one winds up under the number.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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