Charlotte Hornets seek rare road win against Trail Blazers

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets are in the middle of a brutal six-game road trip and they’ve struggled thus far. Can they turn it around with a visit to Portland?

The Charlotte Hornets (19-21) could not have this current road trip at a worse time. Going in, they were one game below .500 and with five of the six games in this trip being against teams vying for playoff spots out West, the team was in a position to lose their own playoff spot.

They have a bit of wiggle room right now, though, as they are 1.5 games above the Detroit Pistons for that final playoff spot, but that could be in jeopardy as they’ll need to do something they’ve only accomplished five times in their 30-year existence. That means beating the Portland Trail Blazers (25-17) in Portland.

Of course, being in different conferences means they’ll only usually play each other twice a year, but five times in 30 years is disconcerting history for a team desperately clinging to the 8th seed in the East. In fact, overall, the Hornets have only beaten Portland 16 times. Compared to Portland’s 40 wins in this all-time series and I’d say that pretty lopsided. As always, though, I am a firm believer that any team can be beaten on any given night.

Charlotte’s last game was a 109-128 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. They are currently 8th in the Eastern Conference. The Blazers’ last game was a 124-112 win over the Chicago Bulls. They are 5th in the West. This is the first of two meetings between these teams.

Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers
10:00 p.m. EST, Friday, January 11th, 2019
Moda Center
Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report:


Devonte’ Graham – Ankle (Questionable)

Cody Zeller – Hand (Out)


Maurice Harkless – Knee (Out)

Damian Lillard – Elbow (Questionable)

Things to watch for:

It’ll be interesting to see if Lillard is a scratch or not. He is currently averaging 26 points a game. It’s unfortunate for Portland, obviously, but it potentially makes things a lot easier on Charlotte. On a similar note, if Graham can’t go, that’ll mean extended playing time for Tony Parker and Malik Monk.

Keys to the game:

Portland excels on the glass, averaging 48.4 boards a game, good enough for 3rd in the NBA. The bulk of those rebounds comes on the defensive end, where Portland ranks 2nd in the league.

Charlotte must be focusing on boxing out on misses and putting a body on Jusuf Nurkic and Al-Farouq Aminu, as they contribute the most on the glass.

Portland gives up the 5th highest three-point percentage in the NBA. The Hornets should look to set up open shooters on the perimeter and make the extra pass if need be to find good looks.

Kemba Walker is trusting the Hornets front office. dark. Next

History is not on the Hornets’ side in this match-up, but every dog has its day. Some could argue that this is a must-win and with the final playoff spot on the line, it could be. Here’s hoping they can leave the City of Roses with a win.