It’s been an up-and-down season for the Charlotte Hornets, but for the moment, they’re on the upswing at 9-2 SU and 7-4 ATS in their last 11 games. The San Antonio Spurs might be the better NBA pick, though.
Jason’s record as of Jan. 27: 25-25-3 ATS, 2-4 Totals
Into the night with Charlotte sometimes. The Charlotte Hornets have had a disappointing season, but we’re only halfway through, and the Hornets (19-26 SU, 20-23-2 ATS) are back in playoff position after winning nine of their last 11 games. Maybe they’ve got everything figured out now after starting the year so poorly.
Maybe. We’ll see how the Hornets fare Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET) against the San Antonio Spurs, who’ve won seven of their last eight contests at 4-2-1 ATS. Our NBA odds board at press time shows San Antonio laying 12 points at home. We ended up with a push last week when we took the Spurs and the points against the Los Angeles Lakers (+14). Shall we give it another go?
Biyombo, Good and Evil
Things looked really bleak for the Hornets going into the New Year. Their best player, Al Jefferson (19.9 PER), suffered a strained groin and ended up missing nine games; miraculously, Charlotte went 6-3 SU and ATS in Jefferson’s absence. That includes barely missing out on the cash in a somewhat competitive 98-93 home loss to the Spurs (–4.5).
Just as Jefferson was about to return, Charlotte’s second-best player, Kemba Walker (18.7 PER), had his troublesome left knee flare up. It turns out he’s got a torn meniscus; we learned on Monday that Walker will undergo surgery and is out indefinitely. Once again, the Hornets thrived in the three games Walker missed, going 2-1 SU and ATS. Go figure.
We’d be more worried about Walker’s absence if we were the Hornets. As valuable as Jefferson is, Bismack Biyombo (16.0 PER) did a good job replacing him as the starting center. We’re not so sure that Brian Roberts (12.7 PER) can do the same for Walker. Also, we should note that Biyombo is going to miss the next week or so because of a bone bruise in his knee. And Marvin Williams (10.6 PER) is out indefinitely with a concussion and a broken nose.
Why Ask Kawhi
The injured list for the Spurs (29-17 SU, 21-23-2 ATS) consists of just one man: Marco Belinelli (12.3 PER), who’s also missed nine games with a strained groin. Belinelli’s not due back anytime soon, though – nor is he nearly as important to San Antonio as Jefferson is to Charlotte. Kawhi Leonard (20.0 PER), on the other hand, might be the best player on the Spurs right now. And Leonard gave everyone a scare this past Sunday when he tweaked his ankle against the Milwaukee Bucks.
No worries: Leonard returned after just a few minutes and finished the day with 19 points and 14 rebounds in a 101-95 victory. But it wasn’t enough for San Antonio (–11.5 at home) to beat the basketball odds. Too much chalk on the defending champions? We prefer to credit Milwaukee (29-15 ATS) instead. The Spurs are still 7-5-1 ATS this year when favored by double-digits.
Looking back at that last Hornets-Spurs game, it’s difficult to put much stock in Charlotte’s chances for the rematch. Walker led all scorers with 28 points, and Biyombo was a beast with 12 points, 15 boards (seven on the offensive glass) and five blocks. Jefferson missed that game, mind you, but even if he delivers a Biyombolian performance Wednesday night, it’s hard to imaging Roberts going off for 28 points against San Antonio.
One last note regarding that game: Leonard didn’t play for the Spurs. They started Austin Daye (7.3 PER) at small forward, although he only played six minutes. Daye was waived shortly thereafter. Put the Spurs are our NBA picks one more time, and may the sphere be with you.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Spurs -13 at 5Dimes