Just days ago, the NBA lost a legend to a terrible tragedy. Still, a forlorn league must move on and that includes a matchup between the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks.
I’m not sure how many NBA players want to be playing basketball right now, especially the Charlotte Hornets. Fans, players, and coaches are still grieving the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others, to a horrific helicopter accident. Needless to say, it’s a very dark time for basketball.
There are games to play, though, and I think Kobe would want the league to persevere and continue playing despite his passing. Continue it will with a game between the Charlotte Hornets (15-31) and New York Knicks (13-34).
These two teams have met once this season, with Charlotte, narrowly winning that game in the Big Apple back on November 16th. The score for that one was 103-102. The Hornets were just one game below .500 at that time, but obviously, things have spiraled out of control since then.
The Hornets’ last game was a 116-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. They are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference. New York’s last contest was a 110-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets. They are one spot behind Charlotte at the 13th spot in the East. This is the second of four meetings between these two teams.
Charlotte Hornets vs New York Knicks
7:00 p.m. EST, Monday, January 28th, 2020
Fox Sports Southeast
R.J. Barrett – Ankle (Out)
Things to watch for:
Since the tragic accident involving Kobe Bryant, the league has been honoring him with various tributes such as teams electing to commit shot clock and backcourt violations since they match both of Bryant’s jersey numbers. I sincerely hope that continues in this game as the sorrow is still being felt amongst the league and its fans, including yours truly.
Charlotte is riding an eight-game losing streak, the longest they’ve had since losing ten straight in the 2014-2015 season. One might think they can snap that with this game, but the Hornets have had very bad losses to some of the bottom-dwelling teams in the league, so this one isn’t in the bag. The last few games between these two have been close, though, so hopefully, it will be entertaining.
Keys to the game:
The Knicks are the league’s leaders in offensive boards, snagging 12 a game. That makes some sense given how they’re one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA. So is Charlotte, however, so the Hornets would do well in boxing out under the rim should the Knicks start throwing up bricks. Limiting their second-chance points would be ideal.
New York also allows the highest percentage of three-pointers per contest, with opposing teams shooting nearly 39% from deep. Though streaky, Charlotte can hit from behind the arc, so finding open shooters and setting good screens on the perimeter should be an emphasis.
While the NBA and its fans mourn the loss of one the greatest to ever lace them up, teams still have games to play. The Charlotte Hornets are no exception. Here’s hoping they can lighten the hearts of Hornets fans with a win over the New York Knicks.