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Warriors vs. Hornets Preview: Steph Curry is headed home

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And the Warriors get their first taste of the LaMelo Ball show.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors don’t get anytime to shake off their fourth quarter meltdown against the Orlando Magic. Instead it’s straight into action with Steph Curry’s hometown team: the Charlotte Hornets.

The deets

Who: Golden State Warriors (16-14) vs. Charlotte Hornets (13-15)

When: 5:00 p.m. PT

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

TV: NBC Sports Bay Area

Projected starting lineups:

Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Draymond Green
Hornets: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Gordon Hayward, Cody Zeller

Last results:

Warriors: Lost to the Magic 124-120 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Hornets: Lost to the Spurs 122-110 — 3-2 in their last 5 games

Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):

Warriors: 110.6 offense (21st), 110.9 defense (7th), -0.4 net (15th)
Hornets: 111.5 offense (18th), 113.1 defense (18th), -1.6 net (19th)

The story

The four-game road trip marches on, with the Warriors second stop. And this one is always special, as Steph Curry is going home, to the city where he grew up, where his dad, Dell Curry played the bulk of his NBA basketball, and where Dell still works as a broadcaster.

Curry always talks lovingly about returning home for games, and for his career is shooting 49.7% from distance against the Hornets — his second-highest percentage against a team.

More importantly, the Warriors are trying to shake off a disappointing and deflating loss. We’ll see how tough they are against a scrappy but not particularly good Hornets team.

Players to watch

Warrior to watch: Steph Curry

Steve Kerr is fond of saying that Curry doesn’t have consecutive poor shooting games, but the two-time MVP just proved him wrong. In his last two games, Curry is shooting just 19-for-54 from the field, and 11-for-36 from beyond the arc.

But Curry really doesn’t have three straight poor shooting games, he loves going home, and Charlotte’s defense is nothing to write home about.

If I were a betting man, I’d put money on a big game.

Hornet to watch: LaMelo Ball.

Ball has been the most exciting rookie this year, and it’s not even close. The 19 year old is averaging 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, while shooting 35.6% from beyond the arc — a far better percentage than he had last year in the NBL.

But it’s the way Ball is doing it that is so exciting. He’s been a highlight machine, and looks like a player destined to be a staple at the All-Star Game for the next decade.

Matchup to watch: Andrew Wiggins vs. Gordon Hayward.

Wiggins has been having a very impressive defensive season, and he’ll get to show that off against Hayward, who has been justifying the enormous contract Charlotte gave him over the offseason.

On the other side of things, Wiggins has been looking to find his rhythm offensively, and this should be a fun test.

Keys to victory

  • Shake off Friday’s disappointing game and bring the confidence, swagger, and passion from the tip.
  • Muster energy on the back end of a road back-to-back against a team that didn’t play Friday.
  • Limit Gordon Hayward’s offensive opportunities.
  • Steph Curry go off.

Just win, baby.