With some help from questionable officiating and Jarrett Jack’s 17 points off the bench, the Hornets came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat the Raptors in their previous meeting last month. That win proved to be the fourth win in what would turn into an impressive 10-game win streak that launched the Hornets back into the Western Conference upper tier.
Subsequently, the Hornets have lost 10 of their last 14 games and while they’re still tied with Denver for fifth in the West, they’re just two games ahead of eighth-place Memphis. They clearly need to break out of this freefall if they’re going to make the playoffs and give Chris Paul any reason to want to sign a contract extension. Tonight marks the first game in a five-game road trip and it’s safe to say they are considering this a “must-win situation”.
Raptors: Andrea Bargnani will probably play tonight in spite of a lingering cough, while neither Reggie Evans nor Joey Dorsey are expected to dress
Hornets: The Hornets are 100 percent healthy, which makes their losing streak that much more troubling.
1. Does Jarrett Jack have extra motivation to play well against the Raptors? His 17-point output against Toronto in January was his second-most productive out of 49 games as a Hornet.
2. Could the Hornets have the NBA’s worst wing player rotation outside of Cleveland?
3. Should Jay Triano give up on trying to get Jose Calderon to shoot more often?
4. Did you know that, with his next assist, Calderon will pass the legendary Bob Dandridge for 200th all-time in career assists?
5. Assuming you’re a Raptors fan, how often are you checking mock draft boards these days? Currently, the Raptors have the fourth-worst record in the league, and both nbadraft.net and Draft Express have power forwards (Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones, respectively) going fourth overall.
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
New Orleans: Chris Paul, Willie Green, Trevor Ariza, David West, Emeka Okafor
Tonight’s pregame song is “Under Cover of Darkness”, the lead single from the new Strokes album. It’s not as good as most of their past singles, but it’s The Strokes so — like mediocre pizza — it’s still pretty good.