When the Golden State Warriors schedule first came out, a Feb. 26 home game against the mediocre Charlotte Hornets was one of the least noticeable contests on the slate. And now it suddenly feels like one of the most consequential games all year.
Who: Golden State Warriors (18-15) vs. Charlotte Hornets (15-16)
When: 7:00 p.m. PT
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Hornets: Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Cody Zeller
Warriors: Beat the Pacers 111-107 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Hornets: Beat the Suns 124-121 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass)
Warriors: 110.5 offense (21st), 110.3 defense (5th), +0.2 net (14th)
Hornets: 111.2 offense (18th), 113.3 defense (20th), -2.1 net (22nd)
There are two pretty clear stories here.
The first is that, for the eighth time this year, the Warriors have a chance to put together a three-game winning streak. So far they’re 0-for-7. Will it finally happen?
The second is that the Dubs get to avenge one of the weirdest and most painful losses in recent memory. You might remember it, because it happened less than a week ago.
The Warriors were all set to face the Hornets on the road and try and bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to the Orlando Magic the night before. It was Steph Curry’s return to Charlotte and then, at the last minute, he was scratched due to illness. But the Warriors scratched and clawed and somehow built a double-digit fourth quarter lead, only to have it all collapse. It culminated with Draymond Green getting a pair of technical fouls with less than 10 seconds left, which allowed the Hornets to tie the game, and then a buzzer-beating winner from Terry Rozier.
Golden State wants revenge. Badly.
Players to watch
Warrior(s) to watch: Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
Not only are Curry and Green the best and most valuable players for the Warriors, but they’ll both have a chip on their shoulder entering the contest. Curry will be upset that he missed a chance to play at home, and Green will be angry that he made such a critical error that made headlines.
I would expect each player to come out aggressive.
Hornet to watch: Terry Rozier.
In addition to hitting the game-winning shot on Saturday, Rozier finished with 36 points on just 19 shots, and went 8-for-11 from deep.
He can be all over the place. He has six games this season where he’s had at least 30 points, including two where he eclipsed 40. He also has two games where he’s failed to reach double digits, and six games where he’s shot 33.3% from the field or worse.
He’s nicknamed “Scary Terry,” and sometimes that adjective is for Charlotte fans, and sometimes for fans of the opposing team.
Matchup to watch: James Wiseman vs. LaMelo Ball.
Wiseman and Ball won’t spend any time matched up on each other, as the former is a center and the latter is a point guard. But the pair of top three picks will surely want to put on a show and prove why their team did the best in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Keys to victory
- Take advantage of Charlotte’s slow centers with small ball and strong James Wiseman minutes.
- Don’t let Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward have efficient nights.
- Strong two-way play from Kelly Oubre Jr.
- Steph Curry. That’s it, that’s the key.
Three-game winning streak Dubs. Three-game winning streak.