Portland Trail Blazers are coming into this match after a disappointing defeat against Toronto Raptors on Saturday, which ended their 5 game winning streak. Next on their calendar is the 6th away game in a row in Charlotte, where they will meet with Hornets for the 2nd time this season.
Charlotte Hornets are coming into this match after a revenge win against Brooklyn Nets, who defeated Hornets on February 24th (115:117). After the defeat against Nets, Hornets lost the next 2 matches against Golden State Warriors (110:121) and Houston Rockets (113:118), where they lost due to bad performance in the 2nd half of the match. As it stands now, Hornets are 9th in the East with an overall record of 29-33 and a 2-3 record in their last 5 games, which puts them 1 game out of reaching the playoffs spot and passing Orlando Magic. Heading into this match, Hornets have their mind set on one thing and one thing only. A win. While they have not been too convincing this season, Hornets did put up a good fight against Rockets and of course Brooklyn Nets, however, the question remains; are they good enough to defeat Portland Trail Blazers who are arguably playing the best basketball this season.
I’m overall quite impressed by Portland Trail Blazers, who as mentioned started to show their best performance of the season lately. As it stands now, they are 4th in the West with an overall record of 38-24 and a 4-1 record in their last 5 games. Despite their impressive run of 5 consecutive wins against GSW (129:107), Brooklyn Nets (99:113), Philadelphia 76ers (115:130), Cleveland Cavaliers (110:123) and Boston Celtics (92:97), they fell to Toronto Raptors on Saturday (119:117). Their performance against Toronto Raptors was not particularly bad, however, their 5 games long road trip has taken its toll on players, who are not as fast and explosive as they would have wanted to be. That, of course, is not surprising, due to all the travelling they had to make. Charlotte will come into this match with a full squad available, on the other side Portland Trail Blazers miss Turner while Kanter is questionable to appear on Sunday.
As mentioned, I like the Portland Trail Blazers and the basketball they play lately, but due to an exhausting road trip behind them, they are slowly showing signs of fatigue. That was clearly seen in their recent match against Toronto Raptors, where they struggle to hold on to their lead in the final quarter of the match. As they head to Charlotte, to face off against Hornets, Portland are considered a favourite to win, but I have my doubts about that. Despite the fact they are playing good, there is no way of looking past their exhausting calendar, which served them with a 6th away game tonight. As mentioned, players seem tired, which is only natural, however, this will most likely result in yet another tough match against improved Hornets. We might be looking at a close match between these two sides, but if I had to pick my favourite, it would be the home side, who are desperate for a win, which would raise them into the playoff spot. Expect Hornets to put up a good fight against Trail Blazers, who as we seen are beatable.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets to win
Odds: 2.24 Matchbook