The Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets meet for the first time this season on Wednesday night. The Hornets have really been coming together nicely recently, and hope to add to their playoff resume with six straight wins. Charlotte goes into this contest on a four-game winning streak, and wins in five of their previous six outings.
They are playing confidently, and this could only be the start for Michael Jordan’s team. I don’t foresee the Hornets being a major contender this season, but playoffs seem within reach for them. The Hornets head into Wednesday night with a record of 20-18. In an Eastern Conference that is loaded with talent at the top, but it mellows out as you move down, the Hornets have a very good chance.
If the playoffs started today, a record of 20-18 would result in the fifth seed. When it comes to the future, it looks brighter than a fifth seed for the Hornets. The emergence of LaMelo Ball really puts the Hornets in a good spot moving forward. The rookie is scoring 15.8 points and 6.3 assists per game. He’s only a 19-year-old and has a lot of room to grow for the Hornets. Surround him with talent and the Hornets are going to be just alright.
He, along with Terry Rozier, and Gordon Hayward have been a nice 1-2-3 punch for the Hornets this season. Hayward leads the Hornets with 21.1 points per game. Rozier could be on the move if the Hornets get the right deal for the 27-year-old. Rozier and member of the bench, Devonte’ Graham, are at the peak of their worth. The Hornets could really fetch a future builder for those two.
Yes, the Hornets are likely going to the playoffs, but beating the top contenders is unlikely. It would likely be wise for the Hornets to plan something out for a serious run in two or three years. In any event, Rozier and Graham most certainly makes the Hornets a better team right now, and a couple of players that the Nuggets probably don’t want to see tonight. The Nuggets are winners in six of their last seven, including their most recent outing on Monday, a 121-106 win over the Pacers. Head below for our free Hornets vs. Nuggets pick on March 17, 2021
Charlotte Hornets vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Betting Odds:
Hornets vs. Nuggets Prediction:
The Nuggets are in a nice groove right now, as they had a lot of success on their road trip. Most teams hate lengthy road trips, but the Nuggets thrived during their five-game trip. The Nuggets swept with five straight wins, which included one of their best wins of the season in Milwaukee. They toyed with the Bucks for a 128-97 win as 8-point underdogs. Upon their return home, they dropped a 116-103 decision against the Dallas Mavericks, but got right back on the horse with a 121-106 win over the Pacers most recently.
Denver has been banged up recently, though Nikola Jokic was able to play on a bad ankle against the Pacers. He is expected to be in the lineup this evening. Four guards are still listed on the injury report. Point guard Monte Morris is officially OUT on Wednesday night. He’s been out the last three games, so the Nuggets have learned to adapt without him.
It does hurt their depth, as Morris has been effective with 10.4 points and 3.4 assists per game. As long as Jamal Murray stays healthy, the Nuggets should be fine offensively, though. They have scored an average of 115.3 points and are shooting 48.4% from the field. That’s good for sixth in the league by both metrics. The Hornets started slow on both sides of the ball, but they’ve been coming along nicely as of late.
Charlotte has scored an average of 112.8 points per game for 15th in the league. Defensively they’ve yielded 112.7 points a game for 21st, while the Nuggets have surrendered 110.4 points per game for eighth. The Hornets have steadily improved as the season has progressed. In their previous five outings, they’ve netted 117.4 points per game. The defense has been stronger as well with 109.4 points against. Well, sort of better.
The problem I have with the Hornets’ defense recently, though, is the teams that they’ve played. During their four-game win streak, they’ve beaten the Timberwolves, Raptors, Pistons, and Kings. Besides the Kings, the other three offenses have been inconsistent this season. The Nuggets have scored 115.1 points per game at home this year, which is the same that the Hornets have scored on the road. The OVER has gone 4-1 in their last five meetings, and I could see it moving to 5-1 tonight. A 121-115 or 123-114 final score is how I see this game playing out.