Five fearless predictions for Saturday’s Charlotte Hornets game against the Portland Trail Blazers:
1. Hornets will be the fresher team
This is the second game of back-to-backs for both teams. The difference is the Hornets are at home both nights, while the Blazers played in Orlando, then flew to Charlotte.
2. Big opportunity for Howard
Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic missed three games heading into the Magic game with a sprained ankle. That moved rookie Zach Collins into the starting lineup. Either way, advantage Dwight Howard.
3. Noah Vonleh won’t have a ‘revenge’ game
The Hornets traded the former lottery pick after one season in the Nic Batum deal. He hasn’t exactly lit it up in his time with the Blazers.
4. Damian Lillard puts on a show
Lillard is an exceptional pick-and-roll point guard, and was as a Blazers rookie; it took a while longer for Kemba Walker to develop all the different skills.
5. Hornets 106, Blazers 102
This figures to be a close one; the Hornets’ bench has to break even with the Blazers’ reserves.
Blazers at Hornets
Where: Spectrum Center
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southeast /WFNZ 610-AM