It’s going to be quite the battle when the Hornets and Nuggets get together on Wednesday. LaMelo Ball and the talented Hornets will be facing off with prime MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and his Denver team. They’re a group still struggling to get healthy, but it does seem they’ve got their core starting five locked in and playing.
Gary Harris will probably end up as a reserve upon his return, barring a Will Barton trade at the deadline. The lineup they’re using of Jamal Murray-Barton-Michael Porter Jr.-Paul Millsap-Jokic gives them floor spacing and scoring at all five positions. As long as Jokic has guys to pass the ball to around the three-point line, the team is going to continue to be dangerous.
Charlotte comes into action having won four games in a row. It also doesn’t hurt that they have the most electrifying PXP man in the league in Eric Collins, using his “Hum Diddily Dee” call after every big bucket. As he did when Gordon Hayward dunked all over De’Aaron Fox, inside of two minutes left in a tight game. At 20-18, they are one of many teams that have surprised betters and casual spectators alike.
- SPREAD: The Nuggets are 6.5-point favorites in the game.
- OVER/UNDER: The over/under is sitting at 231 points.
- MONEYLINE: The Hornets moneyline is +220, while the Nuggets is -270.
Charlotte Seeks Fifth Straight Win
When the Hornets signed Gordon Hayward to a $120 million deal this past offseason, nobody believed he would be worth it. Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Naokarni gave the deal a C-. He was something of a shell of his former self while playing for the Celtics. He was extremely inconsistent, and not a player you could consistently count on to lead. Functioning as the #4 option last season, he had good days and bad.
Hayward is leading the team, averaging 21 points per game on 48% shooting. He and Terry Rozier (20 ppg, 48% FG, 43% 3PT) have both been lethal scorers. When you add in PJ Washington, LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk, you’ve got a litany of players who can go off at any time. Washington had a 40-point game this year. Miles Bridges is one of the most explosive finishers in the league.
Ball is a walking highlight and has averaged 16-6-6 during his rookie year. It’s pretty clear he isn’t overrated. And he and Jamal Murray will have quite the battle in this game.
Nuggets Seeking Home Win
It’s been an up-and-down year for the Nuggets, who currently sit at 23-16. The most important thing is that Nikola Jokic has been able to stay healthy and play big minutes every night. The big man is averaging 27-11-9, with nearly two steals per game as well. Jokic is also shooting 56% from the floor, 41% from three and 87% from the line. If Embiid misses too many games, he could become the MVP favorite.
It’s also been good to see Michael Porter Jr. play better basketball of late. He’s averaging 15 points and seven boards for the year, but has become something of a double-digit machine of late. Jamal Murray has averaged 21 points per game and proven to be pretty trustworthy. The issue has been with the bench, as they haven’t been able to develop any consistent rotations.
They’ll be without Gary Harris, who misses his 21st game of the year, and also Monte Morris who will be sitting with a quad injury. His presence will be missed as they look for someone to run the second unit.
Hornets vs Nuggets Pick
SPREAD: Hornets +6.5 is the way to go. They’ve got plenty of weapons, and every one of them will be showing out against Denver.
OVER/UNDER: Over 231 is bet here. This game features scorers at nearly every position. Defense will not win out.
MONEYLINE: Charlotte +220, folks. This will mark five straight wins for Buzz City
Keep up with your latest sports news coverage and betting pick previews with Knup Sports.