Charlotte (30-27) at Atlanta (32-27)
When: Sunday, February 28th 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 3:35 ET | TV: FSN Southeast
The surging Charlotte Hornets wrap up a six-game road trip with a date in Atlanta on Sunday against the inconsistent Hawks. Charlotte is currently 4-1 on their trip and have now played their way back into the playoff hunt. They are currently the seventh seed in the East – a game and a half clear of Detroit (9th) and just two games behind the Heat in the Southeast Division. Standing between them and the Heat are the Hawks – so today’s matchup is big and the Hornets have one guy who is certainly ready for it – Kemba Walker. The guard from UCONN hit the go-ahead layup with 2.4 seconds left as Charlotte upset Indiana 96-95 on Friday night. Walker (20.7 points a game) finished with 22 points and 10 assists and has scored over 20 points in every game this month averaging 24.1 in that span. The 37.3% shooter from three-point land has hit six of his last 13 from beyond the arc in the last two games. Forward Marvin Williams stepped up his offensive game on Friday scoring 26 points to go along with his 13 rebounds. Williams has three-straight multiple rebound games. Charlotte is still just 29th in the league in shooting (43.2%) and could use a little more help for Walker.
The Hawks, who have been going back-and-forth with Miami this season in the division, now have to contend with the hot Hornets. Atlanta is in the middle of a tough stretch right now in which they have lost five of their last seven games. Both of those wins came against Chicago including Friday night’s 103-88 win in which the Hawks finally held onto a lead. Atlanta held the lead in the three games after the All-Star Break and lost all three, but won every quarter Friday against Chicago. Al Horford has been one of the more consistent scorers lately and had 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the win. Horford was limited to a season-low two points in 28 minutes at Charlotte on January 13th. Jeff Teague (15.2) has 35 points over the last two games after being limited to just five points against the Bucks in the previous game. Kent Bazemore (12.0 points) is 3-of-24 from 3-point range in the last six games which has dropped his season percentage to 36.8%. Atlanta will hit the road after today for five-straight that will take them to Golden State, both L.A. teams, Utah, and Toronto.
I’m going to stick with the Hornets on the road as the Hawks haven’t beaten anyone other than Chicago in the last three weeks. Charlotte has won five of their last six road games. Look for Walker to go off again.
Pick: Hornets +3.5