Last night, the Charlotte Hornets edged out the Indiana Pacers 121-118. Tonight they will find themselves in Atlanta taking on a Hawks team that's won three straight games. The Hornets have won five consecutive games and are 2.5 games ahead of the Hawks in the Southeast Division standings.
The 2020-21 season was only a sneak peek of what is to come for LaMelo Ball and the Hornets. The 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year has moved into a starting role and averages 19.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2 steals per game.
But it's not a one-man show in Charlotte. Five other players average double-digit points per game. Miles Bridges leads the way with 20.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals per game. Thanks to this multifaceted attack, the Hornets average the second-most points per game (112.8) in the NBA.
On the other hand, the Hawks are fifth in offensive rating (110.2) and are finally heating up after a slow start. We know what we can expect from the Hawks big three. Trae Young is averaging 25.1 points and second in assists per game (9.2). Clint Capela's 11.6 rebounds per game is the sixth-best in the league. At the same time, John Collins is one of the most efficient players in the NBA, with 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Additionally, Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic are no longer bashful about taking their shots. Coming off the bench, Cam Reddish is looking more comfortable with each game. The Hawks dug themselves into a hole on their west coast road trip a few weeks back, and they plan on making up ground from now until Thanksgiving.
The Hornets official injury report isn't out yet. However, it's the second night of a back-to-back, so don't be surprised if a player or two gets scratched. The Hawks are relatively healthy. Only De'Andre Hunter (right wrist tendon surgery) and Onyeka Okongwu (right shoulder injury recovery) are out.
SI Sportsbook has the Hawks listed as 6.5-point favorites. That's a pretty wide margin again a team that is riding such a hot streak. Clearly, people are buying into this Hawks team that is finally heating up after a slow start.
If the Hawks are to continue making up for their six-game losing streak a few weeks ago, tonight is a must-win game. The Hornets are a divisional rival that is operating on little sleep. A well-rested Hawks team should take care of business in front of their home crowd on Saturday night.