Tonight’s Raptors Hornets matchup will be a clash of styles and trajectories. Charlotte comes into this game winners of eight of their last 10 games. On the other side, the Raptors have been on a skid, losing two of their last seven games. This is the first time these teams have matched up against each other.
They’ll play two more times after tonight on Feb. 7 and Feb. 25 for a total three-game series. Toronto is a mediocre 12-12 as the home team while Charlotte clocks in at 13-14 on the season on the road. Both sides’ injury reports aren’t all too long as the Hornets will be without Jalen McDaniels. Gordon Hayward is also questionable with a foot injury.
For the Raptors, Khem Birch and Goran Dragic will miss tonight’s action. As mentioned before, these teams clash stylistically. The Hornets are all about running and gunning as they rank No. 2 in the NBA in pace. The Raptors are much more methodical as they rank No. 26 in pace. So who will force who to bend to their style of play?
How The Charlotte Hornets Can Win:
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 25, 2022
Equipped with a lot of offensive firepower, the Hornets have made a living off flying by their opponents with a fast scoring attack. Their youth is a big part of that. Charlotte has the 5th youngest roster in basketball with an average age of 24.5. The ringmaster of their up tempo offense is potential first-time All-Star LaMelo Ball. He’s had a breakout second season and has grown in all aspects as a scorer, passer, and defender.
However, it’s what surrounds him that makes the Hornets offense as dangerous as it is. The likes of Miles Bridges, Cody Martin, Terry Rozier, and others give this team depth and versatility. To beat the Raptors though they will need to force the Raptors to play their brand of basketball. The best way to do this is to force the Raptors to turn the ball over at a high rate. This gives the Hornets the flexibility to set up their deadly transition attack and puts pressure on the Raptors to scramble for answers on the other end.
How The Toronto Raptors Can Win:
Let’s get it let’s get it let’s get it!
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 25, 2022
The Raptors are a funky team. They run odd lineups that don’t look like they’d work on paper but in practice it does work. There’s a certain surprise element to the Raptors play. It comes when their small/power forward Scottie Barnes handles the ball and initiates their offense. It also comes when the opposing team switches Pascal Siakam off a screen but is met by Barnes or Anunoby who also have those terrifying long arms. Toronto embraces the weirdness and oddities that come with their style of play and it’s what makes them the threat that they are.
To win this game they must show out on the defensive end. They have the league’s 18th ranked defense but are capable of much more. They must throw a lot of length and attention to Ball which will force the others to beat them. Limit the number of points they score in the paint as Charlotte is 4th in the NBA in paint points. Another key is rebounding as Charlotte averages 44.8 RPG, while Toronto averages 45 RPG.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Raptors -3.5 -170 ML
Hornets +3.5 +135 ML
Final Prediction: Charlotte Hornets 106, Toronto Raptors 111