A pair of teams playing the second night of a back to back meet up in Buzz City for an inter-conference tilt. The Portland Trail Blazers are on the road again as they face the Charlotte Hornets Saturday night. Portland was in action on Friday night down in Orlando as they faced the Magic. Charlotte was at home Friday night as they hosted Miami in a Southeast Division matchup. The Trail Blazers own a 38-16 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams: they split two meetings last season, each winning at home.
Portland Trail Blazers Continue East Coast Swing
Portland was in action against the Magic Friday as their road trip continued. This marks their third straight game against a Southeast Division opponent before they move on to Minnesota after this. The Trail Blazers entered Friday 4-6 in their last 10 and were coming off a road win over Miami. Portland was sixth in the Western Conference, standing 8.5 games behind the Rockets for the top spot. The Trail Blazers were two games behind the Timberwolves for the top spot in the Northwest Division and 1.5 games ahead of ninth-place Utah. Portland is 7-5 on the road and 6-6 against Eastern Conference foes this season.
The Trail Blazers come into this one 21st in the league in scoring with 103.3 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 6th in the league in rebounding as they collect 45.6 boards a night. Portland is 30th in the league in assists with 17.9 per contest. The Trail Blazers are above average defensively as they come in 5th in the league by allowing 101.3 points a night. Damian Lillard is leading the team in scoring for the Blazers as he rings up 26.3 points per game while dishing out 6.1 assists per contest. CJ McCollum (21.3 points) and Maurice Harkless are both veteran options for the Blazers. Al-Farouq Aminu (9.9 points, 7.4 rebounds), Jusuf Nurkic (15.1 points, 7.8 rebounds), Pat Connaughton, Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner (7.7 points, 3.7 rebounds) all contribute solidly on the offensive end for Portland’s attack. Portland is 25th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 44.3 percent from the floor. The Trail Blazers are knocking down 9.4 three pointers a night, which is 20th in the league, while ranking 9th in the league by shooting 37.3 percent from downtown.
Charlotte Hornets Hope for Home Cooking
It’s been a rough opening third of the season for the Hornets, who entered Friday night 10-17 on the year. Charlotte lost their coach for an indefinite period as he deals with health issues and the team has struggled. They entered Friday night 2-8 in their last 10 and coming in off a loss to the Rockets on the road. Charlotte is 13th in the Eastern Conference, 12.5 games behind the Celtics for the top spot. The Hornets trailed the Wizards by 4.5 games for the Southeast Division lead and were 4.5 games behind the eighth-place Knicks for the final playoff spot. Charlotte is 8-6 at home and 5-7 against Eastern Conference foes this season.
The Hornets are an average team offensively, ranking 16th in the league with 104.7 points per game. Charlotte is 2nd in rebounding with 47.1 boards per game and 28th by dishing out 20.1 assists per contest. The Hornets come in ranked 20th in scoring defense by allowing 106.7 points per game. Kemba Walker leads the team with 22.1 points while dishing out six assists per game. Dwight Howard is averaging 16.4 points plus 12.4 rebounds per contest, Jeremy Lamb adds 14.5 points plus 4.8 boards per game and Frank Kaminsky chips in 10.4 points a night. Cody Zeller, Treveon Graham, Marvin Williams, Dwayne Bacon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk have to be valuable bench contributors. Nicolas Batum, who tore an elbow ligament in early October, made his season debut last month and is averaging 10 points plus 4.3 assists per contest. The Hornets are 27th in field goal percentage as the team shoots 43.9 percent from the floor. Charlotte is 24th with 8.8 threes per game while ranking 24th in three point shooting as they hit 34.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- Trail Blazers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games
- Trail Blazers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Southeast
- Trail Blazers are 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 games playing on 0 days rest
- Hornets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Hornets are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
Portland had lost five straight before beating Miami on the road so maybe being the visitor will help them. After all, the Trail Blazers had dropped four straight home games before starting this road trip. Charlotte has sputtered of late and it doesn’t seem to matter where they play or who they play, as evidenced by a pair of losses to the Bulls. The Hornets have talent but it’s not clicking right now. Lillard and McCollum are reliable and they get the Trail Blazers the win over an inconsistent Charlotte squad.