Buzz City Beat: Charlotte Hornets vs Utah Jazz prediction, Steve Clifford to return

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets speaks to Marvin Williams
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets speaks to Marvin Williams /

Welcome to Buzz City Beat, a daily roundup of the best articles from around the internet surrounding the Charlotte Hornets.

Drafting Malik Monk over Donovan Mitchell is a draft decision that could haunt the Queen City team for years to come. ( In this edition of Buzz City Beat, we preview the Charlotte Hornets‘ game against the Utah Jazz while also looking at Steve Clifford’s return and one thing to not like about the team this season.

Hornets vs Jazz prediction (

"The Utah Jazz are banged up to all hell, but they still compete night in and night out and they’re only being outscored by 2.6 points in their last five games. I’m taking the points and the Jazz here as more of a fade from the Hornets."

After starting the season 7-2 at home, Charlotte’s only 3-9 in their last 12 games at the Spectrum Center. Luckily for Kemba Walker and company, Utah hasn’t been great on the road so far this season with a 4-17 record away from home. The Jazz are in a bit of a rut as they’ve lost six of their last eight games compared to the Hornets who are 4-4 in their last eight.

It’s hard to pick the Hornets to win after they lost a very winnable game versus the Dallas Mavericks last time out. Still, I’m going to say that the team rebounds and is able to pick up a victory at home. Kemba might have to score 50 this time but I think they will get back on track in the second game of their three-game homestand.

Steve Clifford cleared to return to the team (

"Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been cleared to return after missing more than a month to deal with a previously undisclosed health issue that has now been identified by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer as severe headaches."

Clifford has been away from the Hornets since December 6th. Charlotte’s gone 7-11 in his absence as associate head coach Stephen Silas has filled in at the helm. The hope is that Steve’s return will spark a change in the team and they can turn things around in the second half of the season.

Cliff will officially re-join the Hornets for practice on January 16th and be on the sidelines for his first game back on January 17th against the Washington Wizards. The good news is that Charlotte’s head coach is healthy and ready to make his return. We’ll see if this leads to a push towards the playoffs.

One thing to not like about Charlotte (

"Charlotte, playing without both Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum (again). I hate this on two levels: That the Hornets still do it, and that Batum has been so blah, it sometimes doesn’t seem to hurt Charlotte much — including on their recent road trip, when their bench perked up."

Next: 4 potential G-League players to sign to 10-day deals

The Hornets have found it difficult to stagger their rotations this season. Although, as of late, Stephen Silas has been taking Nic Batum out after five minutes in the first and third quarters to bring in Jeremy Lamb sooner and help stagger the rotations a bit when Kemba needs rest. Still, there are times when Charlotte still plays without both Walker and Batum. Plus, even when Nicolas is playing, he hasn’t been great so far this year.