Charlotte Hornets seek a win against a tough New Orleans Pelicans team

January 15, 2016: New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks then ball against Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) during the NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. New Orleans Pelicans defeat Charlotte Hornets 109-107. (Photograph by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
January 15, 2016: New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dunks then ball against Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams (2) during the NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. New Orleans Pelicans defeat Charlotte Hornets 109-107. (Photograph by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

It’s nearing the end of January and the Charlotte Hornets are starting to string together some wins. Their next step to climbing out of the Eastern Conference cellar is a matchup against the similarly streaking New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite trade rumors and the distractions that come along with them, the Charlotte Hornets (19-26) have put together some wins. They’ve won three of their last four (should be four straight), and the team seems to be more or less on the same page. This couldn’t come at a better time, too, given that it’s nearly February where the grind to the playoffs really starts to take its toll on teams.

The New Orleans Pelicans (25-21) have also hit their stride. Having won seven of their last ten, the team is slowly moving up the ranks of the Western Conference. That doesn’t sound good for the Charlotte Hornets, who are 9-20 against teams with .500 or better records. Still, the Pelicans are only 12-12 on the road and the Hornets are 13-13 at home, so something’s got to give.

Charlotte is coming off a 112-107 win over the Sacramento Kings. They are 11th in the East. The Pelicans are fresh off a 132-128, double-overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. They are 6th in the West.

More from Swarm and Sting

Charlotte Hornets vs New Orleans Pelicans
7:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 24th, 2018
Spectrum Center
Broadcast on Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:

CHA:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Arm (Probable)

Cody Zeller – Knee (Out)

NO:

Tony Allen – Leg (Out)

Alexis Anjinca – Knee (Out)

Frank Jackson – Foot (Out)

Solomon Hill – Hamstring (Out)

Things to keep an eye on:

New Orleans ranks 2nd in the league in field goal percentage, making almost 49% of their shots. One would assume that it’s due to most of their offense presumably going through DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, but they can hit from deep too. They rank 9th in the league in three-point percentage, making almost 37% from downtown. The Hornets rank 12th in opponent field goal percentage. If Charlotte has trouble clamping down, this could be a high scoring affair… if they can keep up, that is.

Keys to the game:

Interior defense will be key in this game. The tandem of Cousins and Davis has been potent, to say the least. They average just over 52 points a game between the two of them. Throw in 22 rebounds combined from the both of them and it’s clear that the Hornets’ frontcourt will have their hands full. That being said, you can’t overlook Jrue Holiday, either. He can drop 20 or more on you just as easily as Cousins and Davis. It’s easy to see why the Pelicans have the 4th highest scoring offense in the NBA. By no coincidence, the Pelicans are also 2nd in assists per game. So, disrupting passing lanes and causing turnovers will be an absolute must.

Next: Determining Nic Batum's trade value

There are no impossible games in sports, or so I believe. This will be a challenge, however, but it’s a challenge the Hornets can and pretty much need to conquer at this point in the season. We’ll see if Kemba Walker and company can clip the Pelicans’ wings Wednesday night in Charlotte.