NBA Basketball

113
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Charlotte 32 24 29 28 113
Oklahoma City 29 22 26 25 102
102
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CT23:00 , April 7, 2021
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Plenty of injury challenges as Hornets face Thunder

According to STATS
According to STATS

Charlotte Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. The Thunder have won five straight over the Hornets and are 16-3 against them since 2010-11. That is both Oklahoma City's second-best record versus any opponent in that span (17-2 vs. 76ers) and Charlotte's second worst versus any opponent in that span (2-17 vs. Clippers).
  2. The Hornets lost by 30 points to the Celtics on Sunday, 116-86, a game that marked both their largest loss and their lowest single-game point total this season. Charlotte scored only 36 points in the paint, the sixth time in its last nine games that it has scored fewer than 40.
  3. Oklahoma City has lost three games in a row by a combined 109 points, matching the 1992-93 Mavericks for the worst point differential in any three-game span in league history. The Thunder's 20 wins are their second fewest through 50 games since they moved to Oklahoma City in 2004-05 (12 in 2008-09).
  4. Terry Rozier has 162 assists, 155 three-pointers and 59 steals this season. He is one of two players with 150+ assists, 150+ threes and 50+ steals, along with Stephen Curry.
  5. In 30 career games, Aleksej Pokusevski has made 34 three-pointers and blocked 31 shots. He is the fifth player in NBA history to have 30+ threes and 30+ blocks through 30 career games, joining Lonzo Ball, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant and Raef LaFrentz.
  6. Charlotte is averaging 105.7 points per game since the All-Star break after averaging 112.7 previously -- its decrease of 7.0 ppg is the third largest in the NBA. Oklahoma City is allowing a league-high 118.9 ppg since the break after allowing 111.4 previously -- its increase of 7.5 is the largest in the NBA.

Heading into Wednesday night's meeting in Oklahoma City, Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego and Oklahoma City Thunder coach Mark Daigneault have had to do plenty of playing around with their lineups.

Borrego's latest challenge is the loss of Gordon Hayward, who suffered a sprained right foot in Friday's win at Indiana and is expected to be out for at least four weeks.

The injury left the Hornets without three of their top five leading scorers. In addition to Hayward, who is averaging 19.6 points a game, Charlotte is without rookie LaMelo Ball (15.9 ppg; fractured wrist) and Malik Monk (13.1; sprained right ankle).

"It's going to be different lineups and it's going to be tinkering throughout each game. I'm probably going to have to play even more small now to find offense," Borrego said recently. "Obviously, LaMelo and Malik were two guys generating a ton of offense for us -- on their own, getting downhill, creating for us."

The Hornets, who averaged nearly 112 points a game through March, are averaging 96.3 over their past three contests and twice have lost without reaching 90 points in their two lowest-scoring performances of the season.

"We've got to find some rhythm offensively. It's just going to take time," Borrego said. "We're a work in progress. This is a great challenge for us. But we move forward."

For the Thunder, there have been plenty of injuries but also other factors, including the trade of Hamidou Diallo, the shutting down of Al Horford, the removal of Mike Muscala from the rotation, and the recent waiving of Justin Jackson.

Upon Jackson's departure Monday, Oklahoma City quickly announced the signings of Justin Robinson to a 10-day contract and Jaylen Hoard to a two-way deal. And that very night, Robinson played 24 minutes and Hoard 22 in a 132-108 loss to Detroit. It was a career high in minutes for both players.

"We don't know them intimately," Daigneault said. "They don't know us. For them to play the minutes they did, we needed them."

And the Thunder figure to continue to need them.

It's likely that none of the Thunder's starters and just two of the 10 players who saw action in the season's first meeting between the teams -- a 109-107 Oklahoma City win Dec. 26 in Charlotte -- will be available for Wednesday's second and final meeting between the clubs.

The latest injured player for the Thunder is Kenrich Williams, who left Monday's loss to the Pistons early in the fourth quarter with a left-ankle sprain.

Williams joins Luguentz Dort and Isaiah Roby among the Oklahoma City players who recently have suffered injuries. Both Dort and Roby are in the NBA's concussion protocol.

The Thunder have dropped three in a row and six of their past seven.

The game is the fifth in a six-game road trip for the Hornets, who are 2-2 on the trip.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 6, 2021

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