It’s a matchup of Eastern Conference teams on opposite sides of the playoff cut line in the Eastern Conference north of the border. The Charlotte Hornets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Toronto Raptors Friday night. Charlotte earned a 107-101 home win over the Knicks in the second game of a back to back situation Wednesday night. Toronto was dropped 108-97 at home by the Bucks in a showdown of Eastern Conference elites Tuesday night. The Hornets lead the all-time regular season series 44-38 but the Raptors have won the last two meetings, including a 112-110 overtime win on the road in the most recent matchup on January 8. The Hornets did cover that game as a 2.5-point underdog.
Charlotte Hornets Look for Back to Back WinsCharlotte bounced back from back to back one-sided defeats by prevailing at home in the second game of a back to back. That marked their fourth win in the last six games, all of which came as the underdog. The Hornets are fourth in the Southeast Division, 16 games behind the Heat for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team is 10th in the standings, six games behind Orlando for the final playoff spot. Charlotte led by three after one quarter and by 10 at the half before withstanding a late Knicks charge that saw the lead cut to two. The Hornets shot 47 percent from the field, including 10 of 30 from three-point range, and overcame the Knicks shooting 50.6 percent from the floor. Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 26 points in the win.
The Hornets are a below average team offensively so far this season, ranking 30th in the league with 102.3 points per game. Charlotte is 26th in rebounding with 42.8 boards per game and 18th by dishing out 23.7 assists per contest. The Hornets are average defensively this season as they are 14th in scoring defense by allowing 110 points per game. Terry Rozier is second in scoring for Charlotte with 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season. PJ Washington (11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds), Devonte’ Graham (17.6 points, 7.6 assists), Cody Zeller (11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Miles Bridges (13.2 points, 5.5 rebounds) are all scoring in double figures. Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk (10.3 points) and Marvin Williams are solid contributors offensively as well. The Hornets are 30th in field goal percentage as the team shoots 43.2 percent from the floor. Charlotte is tied for 15th in the league with 11.9 threes per game while ranking tied for 23rd in three-point shooting as they hit 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. Monk was suspended indefinitely by the league on February 26 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Toronto Raptors Try to Get Back in Win ColumnToronto was upended by the Bucks in a battle of Eastern Conference heavyweights at home Tuesday night. The Raptors entered Thursday second in the Atlantic Division standings, one game ahead of Boston for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the team is second in the standings, eight games behind Milwaukee for the top spot. Toronto held a two-point lead after the opening quarter and at the half before getting outscored 34-19 in the third quarter. The Raptors didn’t get closer than five in the fourth quarter as they lost for the second time in four games. Toronto shot only 35.2 percent from the floor, including 18 of 52 from three-point range, and lost the rebounding battle 53-43. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 22 points and six boards in the loss.
Slimm Block pic.twitter.com/hz1f1tRymU— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 26, 2020
The Raptors are 11th in the league in scoring offense with 113 points per game this season. Toronto is 12th in the league with 45.5 rebounds per contest and stands 10th in assists with 25.6 per game. The Raptors are 2nd in the league in scoring defense by allowing 106.1 points per game. Pascal Siakam leads the team with 23.7 points plus 7.5 rebounds per contest. Kyle Lowry contributes 19.2 points plus 7.7 assists a game while Fred VanVleet puts up 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per contest. Serge Ibaka (15.9 points, eight rebounds), Norman Powell (15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds) and OG Anunoby (10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds) are guys that Nick Nurse is relying on in the Raptors’ rotation. Toronto is tied for 17th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46 percent from the floor as a team. The Raptors are fifth in threes per game this season as they have knocked down 13.8 triples per contest while the team is third in the league in three-point shooting by hitting 37.6 percent of their chances from long range. Powell is out with a broken finger on his hand suffered February 2 and is questionable here. Gasol is dealing with a hamstring injury and is out again here.
The top trends for this contest:
- Hornets are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Hornets are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite of 11.0 or greater
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a favorite of 11.0 or greater