Charlotte Hornets look to even the season series against OKC

Charlotte Hornets Tony Parker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Tony Parker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Can the Charlotte Hornets avoid getting swept by the Thunder and steal a win in Oklahoma City?

The Charlotte Hornets (9-8) seem to be an improved squad compared to last year. There’s plenty of optimism among the fans and with good reason. The team seems to be gelling and new Head Coach James Borrego’s philosophies and guidance have been a breath of fresh air. It hasn’t been easy, though, as the Hornets have definitely struggled in close games.

One of those games was a 107-111 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder back on November 1st. It wasn’t a very pretty game for either team with Charlotte and OKC shooting 41% and 42.7% from the field respectively.

Even the team captain, Kemba Walker, was off, shooting just 43% from the field, including going 2-8 from behind the arc. Hornets fans are certainly hoping for a different outcome, especially on the road.

Charlotte’s last game was a 127-109 victory of the Indiana Pacers. They are at the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference. OKC’s last game was an impressive 123-95 win over the Golden State Warriors. They are tied for 3rd in the West. This will be the last time these two teams will meet in the regular season.

Charlotte Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder
8:00 p.m. EST, Friday, November 23rd, 2018
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Ankle (Out)

Tony Parker – Ribs (Out)

Willy Hernangomez – Ankle (Probable)

Marvin Williams – Face (Probable)


Alex Abrines – Illness (Probable)

Hemidou Diallo – Ankle (Out)

Terrance Ferguson – Ankle (Out)

Andre Roberson – Knee (Out)

Things to watch for:

Remember how at the beginning of the season, the Thunder were playing very badly, starting the season 0-4? Well, they seem to have fixed that as they’ve won 11 of their last 13. They’re also 6-2 at home.

Conversely, the Hornets are 3-5 on the road. As hot as OKC has been as of late, it’s really going to be a test to come out of there with a win. Charlotte did actually beat the Thunder on the road last season, so it’s not an impossible feat.

As mentioned before, Kemba Walker struggled in their previous game against the Thunder. I’m sure he still remembers that and would love to shine against a fellow superstar like Russell Westbrook.

Keys to the game:

Although the Thunder are 4th in the NBA in total rebounds per game, Charlotte actually out-rebounded them in their last game, 51-49. That makes sense, of course, with all the missed shots both teams were throwing up. You have to think a repeat of that performance can’t happen for both teams, as Charlotte ranks 10th in the league in field goal percentage compared to the Thunder’s 19th, the Hornets will probably shoot a higher percentage.

Then again, this is a road game and OKC can prove to be a very hard place in which to play. Still, rebounding is a key focus for the Thunder, so the Hornets should look to be physical down low with big-man Steven Adams and company.

Another statistic to note is OKC’s defensive capabilities. They rank 1st in the association in steals per game. This is potentially mitigated by Charlotte’s insistence on taking care of the basketball, as they give up the second fewest turnovers per game.

Hot. First Take suggests Charlotte Hornets trade Kemba to LA. light

This has the potential to be a fun game and it’s one the Hornets have every chance of winning. If they play efficiently on the offensive end and work well on the boards, they can come out victorious. We’ll see if they can rise to the occasion Friday night in Oklahoma City.