Charlotte Hornets hit the road to take on the surging Utah Jazz

Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets embark on a four-game West Coast road trip that will surely test them. Can they pull off an upset in Utah against the formidable Jazz?

Things aren’t exactly going well for the Charlotte Hornets (15-25) right now. They’ve won just two of their last ten games (tied for the worst record in that span) and with a remaining schedule that ranks eighth in the league in terms of toughness, it could actually get worse.

They’ll have their work cut out for them against a Utah Jazz (25-12) team that defeated them at home back on December 21st. The Hornets were competitive in that one up until halftime, but they were outscored 58-44 in the second half, sealing their demise. Sound familiar?

This next one is on the road and it will be a tough one as the Jazz are steamrolling through their opponents, riding a league-high seven-game winning streak. If not for a three-point loss to the Miami Heat, that could be a 13 game winning streak. All things must come to an end, though, right?

Charlotte’s last game was a 112-110 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors. They are still mired in that ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. Utah’s last contest was a 128-104 win over the New York Knicks. They are fifth in the Western Conference. This is the final time these teams will meet this season.

 Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers
9:00 p.m. EST, Friday, January 10th, 2020
Vivint Smart Home Arena
Fox Sports Southeast


Injury Report:


Marvin Williams – Nose (Questionable)


Mike Conley – Hamstring (Out)

Things to watch for:

Much has been made about the Hornets and their interior defense, but shockingly, they actually dominated the battle inside in the game against the Jazz at home, outscoring the Jazz 48 to 36 in the paint. Utah was simply more efficient from the field, while Charlotte was not. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes with Utah being at home.

Something else interesting is that the Hornets somehow have more road wins than home wins. Eight of their fifteen wins this year have come away from Charlotte. They’ve also lost more at home, with one extra loss compared to on the road. Perhaps that’s a good sign? Probably not, but you have to try and find something positive.

Keys to the game:

Utah is pretty efficient from the field, especially from behind the arc. Overall, they rank eighth in the league in field-goal percentage and as I touched on in the last preview featuring the Jazz, they rank first in three-point field goal percentage. They shot the ball well against the Hornets last time and at home, I expect it to continue. Charlotte just has to hope they can keep up or that Utah comes out cold.

They also have to hope they can get to the free-throw line, as Utah’s opponents attempt the eighth fewest free-throws. Charlotte did manage to shoot more from the charity stripe than the Jazz did in the last match-up but not by a wide margin. On the road, they might not get that benefit, so drawing contact will be key. Attack the basket and hope the refs do their jobs.

Next. Hornets Round Table: Mid-season review and trades. dark

The Hornets could return home losers of six-straight. If so, that would deal a near mortal blow to their already slim playoff hopes. It all starts in Salt Lake City late Friday night.