Usually, when the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets play, people are only watching for fantasy purposes or because they are a fan of one of the teams. This time though, there is actually a lot of palpable excitement as the teams get set to meet in Charlotte on Monday night.
The Knicks have opened the year with a 5-4 record despite injuries to a few key guys, including No. 8 pick Obi Toppin. Alec Burks got hot out of the gate but has missed the last several games.
Rookie Immanuel Quickley has had some incredible moments already, while Austin Rivers has surprisingly turned into the team’s big shot-maker in crunch time. Oh, and Julius Randle is looking like an All-NBA talent.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have built a little winning streak, and they have their top rookie to thank for it. LaMelo Ball’s strong play of late has the team fired up and playing its best ball in a few years.
He’s been posting practically triple-double numbers nightly for the past week, while Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier have been on fire from everywhere. The future of the Charlotte Hornets is actually looking bright right now.
The spread for this game favors the surging Hornets by 4.5 points. The over/under is set at 210.5.
Knicks Seeking Sixth Win
The Knicks have been able to use the same starting lineup in every game this season so far, a feat that few others can claim. The backcourt of RJ Barrett and Elfrid Payton has been decent, though they struggled against Denver and a bit against Oklahoma City. The last two losses have eaten some momentum, but they should be able to recover.
Randle is posting near-triple-doubles almost every game, something nobody saw as possibly happening coming into the season. It also helps that Tom Thibodeau is playing him close to 40 minutes most nights, but still. He looks incredible so far.
To get the win in this one, the defense of the Knicks will have to step up and slow down Ball and Hayward. They also can’t let PJ Washington or Rozier get hot.
Charlotte Seeks to Move over .500
It might seem a bit premature to talk about moving past .500 for a Hornets team through 11 games. But it isn’t because of the misfortunes this franchise has dealt with over the past several years.
The fact remains that the Hornets didn’t win a single playoff series when Kemba Walker was on the team, something they should be embarrassed about.
Charlotte got the perfect player for the team in the draft in Ball, who should truly move into the starting lineup sooner than later. He has played well alongside Rozier, alongside Devonte’ Graham, and even with both of them together. But, get him into the starting lineup so that he can wreak havoc from the outset.
The signing of Hayward was perfect, as he is proving how good he is as the No. 1 option, as he did in Utah.
Hornets Down the Knicks
New York fans won’t be happy, because after this game, the Knicks will have three losses in a row. Charlotte gets it done.