The Charlotte Hornets will make a short trip to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Friday night, hoping to build on a three-game win streak and improve on the road. The Cavaliers haven’t exactly made a fortress of their arena but did win their last six games, so one streak will have to give.
Hornets at Cavaliers
Spread: Cavaliers -6.5 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: o/u 220.5 points (-110)
Charlotte fight back, top Washington in overtime
Having their prized wing Nicolas Batum made all the difference for the struggling Charlotte Hornets. After coming close in his season debut in Chicago, the Hornets won each of the past three games, defeating three playoff-bound (or wannabe) teams, most recently the Washington Wizards. It didn’t come easy either, especially as they had to compete without him after the halftime.
Trailing for almost the entire game, the Charlotte Hornets found extra energy in the closing minutes of regulation and rode the momentum into the extra period, to win 129-124. Playing without Batum in the second half after he re-injured his troublesome elbow, the Hornets made up a deficit of as much as 11 points. They fell behind by poorly protecting the paint. The Hornets prioritize interior defense, but it wasn’t good in the first half when the Wizards scored 28 points in the lane. They are also generating too few turnovers, having ranked at the very bottom of the league in steals. Clifford has been preaching active hands in the passing lanes and asked for more three-point attempts, but the Hornets would do neither. Even with the extra period attached, they forced only 11 TOs and were 8-of-22 from the deep. One player that listened, made all the difference. Jeremy Lamb started the second half for Batum, and was instrumental (along with Howard’s late game D) in Charlotte’s comeback – he scored 18 points, hitting three treys and had two of the Hornets five total steals. Howard built on a good game against Minny, double-doubling with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Marvin Williams scored a very efficient dozen, and dished out 4 helpers. The rest haven’t had much of a night. Charlotte connected on just 43.5 percent of their shots, and have won the game by doing a good job generating trips to the charity stripe, where they were 25-of-31. On most nights, it won’t be enough, but the Hornets will take any win.
There are no words on how severe Batum’s injury is. He missed six weeks of action after tearing the ligament in the same elbow, so the silence isn’t a good sign. The Hornets are also without backup wings Treveon Graham and Julyan Stone, who are out quite some time already.
Place: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Date/Time: Friday, November 24th, 2017. 8:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: NBATV, FS Ohio
James takes over, wins the game for his team
It’s not rocket science. I’ve said it many times before, and I don’t feel like breaking news to you – the Cavaliers go as far as James can lead them. They take their leader’s personality and whenever he feels he needs to push more, the results are coming. The Cavaliers won their sixth game in a row, but it wasn’t pretty again. Playing shorthanded Nets team who had already beaten them in the Q, the Cavaliers left it late to with 119-109 on Wednesday night.
Tied after three quarters, the Cave witnessed their star go out and score 23 points in the fourth quarter, including an 18-point run on his own to finally create some separation with minutes to go in the game. He was angry after having to leave the game to get stitches for a facial laceration, but also for his team having to go through all that ordeal when other teams cruise to victory in similar games. He was +15 during his court time, finishing with 33 points, six rebounds, and five assists. No other player was better than +5 on the plus/minus, but the supporting stars did contribute. Kevin Love added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who also received 18 points off the bench from Dwyane Wade. Jae Crowder’s efficiency was also important during the cold first quarter when both teams struggled to get points. Fourteen points, solid defense, 3-3 on three-pointers and two steals is a near perfect night for him. J.R. Smith disappeared and struggled containing his matchup Joe Harris, who had a career night. The Cavs shot 50 percent from the field, but couldn’t defend well once again, allowing 52.7 percent shooting to the Nets.
Shumpert was sidelined with a knee injury again, and is set to return on Monday, making him doubtful for this one. Rose and Thomas are weeks away, so Calderon is going to continue to start at the one.
Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers Game Trends & Prediction
The Charlotte Hornets stringed three ATS wins in a row, improving to 9-8 overall and 7-2 at home. It’s much of a different story when they leave Carolinas. The Hornets only won one game away from home, and they wouldn’t fare much better ATS, going 1-6-1 to start this season. Of the last four games, three ended in overs (and the last one would play over the limit even in regulation), as a result of Batum engineering their offense, but the Hornets aren’t giving much to either side, going 9-8 against the total points lines this season.
Surprise, surprise – the Cavaliers couldn’t cover the spread at home. Again. Their incredible bad coming of 0-8-1 against the spread shows no signs of coming to an end. Having a bad away team coming in is a perfect opportunity, but they had a few already. They are 6-11-1 overall, as they had success playing in front of others’ teams fans, but can’t match their expectations at home. They also managed a rare total points push, so they are now 10-7-1 against the over/under, 5-3-1 at home.
Admi-Rank: The Cavaliers left it late, but won’t be penalized for the last game. They are not dominant but have improved compared to the first two weeks. The Hornets are very steady since the start of the season but have about as many deficiencies as good sides. Even with the Cavs losing ground since Irving’s departure, they are still a better side.
Hornets center Howard fouled out of the first game against the Cavs in just 23 minutes. While he’ll probably fare better this time around, it’s still an awkward matchup with 3-point shooting Kevin Love. Walker will have to step up and take charge against the non-existent point-guard defense of the Cavaliers, and especially if Batum misses time again. Hornets road games against LeBron James have had a predictable result and the King has been putting up large number, despite MKG’s devotion to defense. The Charlotte Hornets are also doing a poor job of harming the opposition from beyond the arc, and that’s one thing that hurts Cavs the most. It seems that this one is going to be pretty one-sided.
Batum has boarded the plane to Cleveland but remains questionable to play on Friday night. However, I expect the Cavs to continue their winning streak and to cover the spread. I would pass on the total in this one.
My Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -6.5 (-110)
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