PREVIEW: Charlotte Hornets back in action to host Stephen Curry, Warriors

By Field Level Media
Feb 17, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after a basket against the Miami Heat during overtime at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry and the host Charlotte Hornets are both hoping for a healthy homecoming Saturday night when the Golden State Warriors make their annual visit.

Curry, who went to high school in Charlotte and attended nearby Davidson College, missed both games against the Hornets last season — including his homecoming — with a broken hand.

He walked off the Charlotte court a winner in each of his last four visits, including following a 40-point performance in December 2015.

Curry is 6-2 in his career in homecoming games, once scoring 43 points in a loss in 2013.

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The Hornets hope to greet him this time with a much healthier roster than in their last game, a 122-110 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

Charlotte played that game without Gordon Hayward (back) and P.J. Washington (COVID-19 protocol), then lost Devonte’ Graham to a knee injury during the contest.

The Hornets haven’t played since because of contact tracing after several members of the Spurs tested positive for COVID-19 following the game. Charlotte has reported no positive tests over the past five days but had to postpone two games — a Wednesday matchup with the Chicago Bulls and a Friday contest with the Denver Nuggets.

Hornets coach James Borrego hopes the break serves his club well, both physically and mentally. Charlotte has lost two of its past three.

“I want this to be a reset for our minds, our bodies and use it as time to grow, get better and find some rest as well,” he said this week. “It’s obviously been very disruptive, but we’ll find our way through it. It’s a great challenge for us and our young group, but we’ll be OK.

“There’s a lot going on, and when you look at the big picture, this is just a minor blip of what’s going on in this world. We can handle this. I try to put it all in perspective. We’re going to be OK.”

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Graham isn’t likely to face the Warriors, making it more likely that LaMelo Ball will get another start in his first career head-to-head matchup with Curry.

Ball, a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, has started the past eight games. In that span, he has averaged 20.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists. He produced double-doubles in three of his past four games.

Curry, meanwhile, has cooled off after a torrid 10-game stretch in which he averaged 34.5 points on 58 percent shooting.

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He went 8-for-25 for 25 points in a home win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday before shooting just 11-for-29 and scoring 29 points in a 124-120 road loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Curry was extended for 37 minutes in the opener of a back-to-back as the Warriors, who led by 13 in the fourth quarter, couldn’t stop a Magic rally that snapped Golden State’s two-game winning streak.

Despite the loss, Warriors coach Steve Kerr likes what he has seen of late from his team, which has won four of six.

“It felt like we were right there, and I still feel like we are,” he said after the Friday defeat. “We’ve gotten dramatically better. We’re fighting. We’re improving, but we just haven’t gotten over the hump yet.”

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–Field Level Media