The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips for an absolutely vital Eastern Conference clash between Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets.
11:00 (AEDT), Wed 9th Mar @ Spectrum Center, Charlotte
History: Played 121: Nets 65 V Hornets 56
Last meeting: October 24, 2021: Hornets 111 d Nets 95 at Barclays Center
Final Thoughts: Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets both head into this showdown with 32-33 records. Their play-in tournament spots look relatively safe (the 11th-placed Wizards are two points behind) but time may have already run out to push for a top-six finish.
The injury-ravaged Nets have won just three of their last 20 games. After upsetting the Bucks in Milwaukee on the back of Kyrie Irving’s 38 points, the Nets have lost their last four to the Raptors (twice), Heat and Celtics.
Mercifully, Kevin Durant is two games back from a lengthy layoff and has hit the ground running, averaging 34 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists since his return. Ben Simmons remains without a timeline for his first game in Nets colours, while reliable veteran LaMarcus Aldridge is out with a hip complaint. Irving will be able to play given this match is outside New York.
The Nets rank 29th defensively since the All-Star break, giving up 122.6 points per 100 possessions.
After a dismal 2-11 run that encompassed all of February, the Hornets have banked consecutive wins away to the Cavaliers (119-98) and at home against the Spurs (123-117) in the past six days. Terry Rozier top-scored with 27 and 31 points in those victories, respectively, while LaMelo Ball (24 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast) was outstanding in the latter.
Mason Plumlee, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington round out a solid starting five and Kelly Oubre Jr and recent addition Montrezl Harrell headline a productive bench. The Hornets are getting severely outrebounded at both ends of late, however.
The teams have met just once this season – way back in October. The Hornets carved out a 111-95 upset in Brooklyn with Miles Bridges (32 pts, 9 reb) starring. Kevin Durant put up 38 points in a beaten Nets side.
The Hornets are 16-15 at home despite winning just two of the last 10 at Spectrum Center. The Nets are 19-15 on the road but have won only two of their last 10 away.
This is a massive game for both teams with only 17 regular-season fixtures left. Durant’s return is huge for Brooklyn and Irving’s availability is a big plus for their offence. The Nets are leaking too many points but their superstar duo should be able to lift the side in these desperate times.
Best Bet: Handicap – Nets -2.5 @ $1.87