Charlotte Hornets: Game preview and things to watch against the Raptors

Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

After ending a demoralizing losing streak, the Charlotte Hornets head to Toronto to take on the Raptors on Friday night.

Going into Friday night’s road game against the Toronto Raptors (42-16), the Charlotte Hornets (20-38) should feel refreshed after their recent victory over the New York Knicks.

For Charlotte, this will be the second time that they take on the Raptors while on the road. In the first road matchup between the teams, the Hornets lost in blowout fashion to the Raptors. They now will face them for the third time this season.

However, the Hornets dramatically improved from the first time they played the Raptors in November. In the second matchup, the Hornets came close to winning, but they lost in overtime by two points.

Heading into this game, the Hornets’ recent game was a 107-101 win against the New York Knicks, while the Raptors are coming off a tough 108-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. EST, Friday, February 28th, 2020
Scotiabank Arena
Fox Sports Southeast


Injury Report:




Marc Gasol – Hamstring (Out)

Serge Ibaka – Knee (Questionable)

Patrick McCaw – Illness (Questionable)

Norman Powell – Finger (Questionable)

Things to watch for:

As this is the third matchup of the season between these two teams, the Hornets have shown improvement in each game. Coming off a motivating victory at home could give the team the extra confidence they need.

Since Malik Monk was suspended before Wednesday’s game, the Hornets may look to continue to experiment with their rotations in this one. Cody Zeller did not play in Wednesday’s game, but he should play against the Raptors.

Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier finished their last game with 20+ points, and the duo’s play could carry over into this game. While Graham has not averaged high numbers against the Raptors this season, Rozier has picked up the slack by averaging 18.5 points and 3.5 assists per game in the first two matchups.

Keys to the game:

In a game like this, Charlotte must be able to defend Pascal Siakam, who’s been dominating all season. Siakam has only played in one game against the Hornets so far this season; he finished that game with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Another key will be to own the glass in this one. With Marc Gasol out and Serge Ibaka potentially joining him, the Hornets must take advantage of the injuries in Toronto’s frontcourt. The Hornets outrebounded the Raptors 50-46 in the last game, and the rebounding helped to keep the game as close as it was.

Finally, the Hornets need to guard the perimeter and any shooters that the Raptors have. The Raptors average 13.8 three-pointers a game, making them the 5th best team in the league in threes made per game.

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If the Hornets are looking for another momentum boost, then this is the game to win. No matter how this game plays out, the Hornets should remain in the 10th spot of the Eastern Conference standings.