Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets enter tonight’s matchup in the Staples Center at .500 after two games. Both teams are looking very different than they did last year with Anthony Davis now patrolling the paint in LA, and Terry Rozier as the new starting point guard, replacing the departed Kemba Walker.
This looks to be a good early test for the young Hornets, but they’ve shown already this season that they are up to the challenge.
Time: 9:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: FSSE-CHA, SPECSN
Hornets: Nicolas Batum (O)
Lakers: DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo (O), Kyle Kuzma (DTD)
Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup
The Charlotte Hornets have been a team whose identity had been identified with their franchise star in point guard Kemba Walker. With Walker gone, the team is forced to find their new identity. They are a young team with a ton on potential. They signed Terry Rozier to a hefty free agent contract in the offseason with the belief that he can usher in a new area of Hornets basketball.
Rozier won’t have to do it alone as he’s got some young talent around him in second-year swingman Miles Bridges, center Cody Zeller, and rookie PJ Washington. There will be some bumps and bruises early though. After experiencing a high in their 126-125 season-opening win, with Washington going off beyond the arc, they suffered a tough 121-99 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“When you get a start like that you just got to understand in the NBA things can happen like that and you can’t be too satisfied,” Rozier said. “Just feel like we have to learn from it.”
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers lost a tough opener against the Clippers in what was an away game for them at Staples Center on NBA opening night, but the Lakers showed that the additions they made will allow them to battle with some of the league’s best.
In their second game at home on Friday night, they came away with a 95-86 win over the Utah Jazz, using a big third-quarter run in which they limited Utah to 18 points.
“We are the real deal defensively,” Davis told the Orange County Register. “We try to lay our hats on defense. We want to be a defensive-oriented team, and guys came in and were pesky.”
LeBron James, who seemed a bit tentative in his season debut against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, was much more aggressive offensively. He finished the game with 32 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds.
Kyle Kuzma is still day-to-day with his injury and will likely be a game-time decision.
Key Player Matchups
LeBron James vs. Miles Bridges
This is obviously a mismatch on paper, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be an entertaining matchup. I don’t have to offer any analysis of James here. He’s a tough draw for anyone, But Bridges is a confident young forward who will probably look forward to the matchup. His athleticism will also keep James busy on the defensive end.
Anthony Davis vs. PJ Washington/Cody Zeller
We’ll probably see more of Zeller on Davis, but Hornets coach James Borrego may mix it up a bit. If Davis looks to establish himself in the paint, it’ll be Zeller defending him, but since James likes to drive into the paint, and JaVale McGee pretty much lives there at well, we could see David roaming outside or at midrange, where Washington is a better fit. Unfortunately for the Hornets, either way, Davis has a huge advantage here.
There’s probably not a player I’d consider a stud pick on Charlotte’s roster just yet, whereas Los Angeles has a few. In tonight’s game, I’ll go with Anthony Davis, who is projected to rack up 54.2 points at a $11.5k value on FanDuel.
While Charlotte may not have a true star player yet, they do have several value players on their roster. Rozier is available for $6.5k and is projected for 27.4 points. Rookie PJ Washington has made a splash to start the season and he has a projection of 26.7 points at just $6k.
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