The Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks were neck-and-neck in the standings this season. The latter had the slight upper hand with a better home record by the end of the calendar. They hold the home advantage in the upcoming Play-In Tournament contest against the Hornets. Meanwhile, Charlotte and the crew are ready to continue its three-game winning streak as they prepare to hit the road. This is a must-win for the franchise if they want to return to the playoffs after a five-year absence.
Nitrobetting brings you the latest and hottest NBA previews. For this one, we go over the three key matchups between the Hornets and the Hawks.
3 Key Matchups In Hornets vs. Hawks 2022 NBA Play-In Showdown
Offense vs. Offense
The offense is the bread and butter of both teams. Neither one of the two is known for towering defense. Both teams have a bottom-ten defensive rating this season. Nonetheless, what they lack in defense, they make up for offensively.
Let’s take a look at how the Hawks performed this season. Overall, the team ranked sixth-best in points per game, averaging 113.9 per game. They did this with an impressive 47.0% shooting (seventh), featuring a second-best three-point shooting percentage at 37.4%. The Hawks are deadly from range, but they also do well from the line. As a team, Atlanta hits 81.2% of its free throws and is the fourth-best record in the league now.
The Hornets, on the other hand, hold the fourth-best scoring record in the league. They average 115.3 points in 72 games played on 46.8% shooting (11th). We also expect the side to light up the floor from range. So far, the Hornets average 36.5% from deep and are good for a sixth-best record in the league. Although the team falls behind in free-throw shooting at only 74.0%, they can offset it with better short and mid-range shooting. Charlotte has better two-point shooting stats at 54.2% versus the Hawks’ 53.1%.
The much-anticipated duel between Trae Young and LaMelo Ball is here. These two are the most exciting young guards in the league, promising fast-paced action for basketball and betting fans. Young is a two-time All-Star who spearheaded the league in points and assists this season. He is only the second player to achieve that record, alongside Tiny Archibald. Young’s ability to create looks for his teammates and utilize the pick-and-roll is paramount to Atlanta’s success this season.
The other end of the spectrum spotlights the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. Although he isn’t as polished as Young, yet, he remains the heart and soul of Charlotte’s offense. Ball has impressive handling skills, passing abilities, and vision. He can break down defenders and find his teammates for clear opportunities. Ultimately, it goes down to which of the two young guards delivers consistent performance.
A regular-season record that went down the wire
The Hawks and the Hornets’ record stayed close throughout the season. This leads us to believe that the Play-In game between the two can be level pegging. The teams met four times during the regular season, with the side scoring two victories each. The Hawks drew first blood in November, then the Hornets hit back with a victory to level the series. Atlanta found more pace and won the third game, but the Hornets were too stubborn to give the last one up and won the most recent contest in March. All four games were relatively close as they were decided by less than double digits.
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