Charlotte Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs Pick & Prediction JANUARY 19th 2024

The San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets will meet for the second time in eight nights Friday with their growing pains still on full display.

The Spurs pulled off a 135-99 victory over the Hornets on Jan. 12, with San Antonio now on a three-game losing streak and Charlotte amid a six-game losing skid.

“We’re going to lose some more games. We would all like to win rather than lose,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “If they are not competing at a certain level or executing at a certain level, we will be on them just as much as if we were winning.”

The Spurs lost 117-98 on the road Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, matching their fewest points in their last 13 games.

The Hornets fell 132-112 on the road Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans as many of the pitfalls have looked similar in Charlotte’s defeats. The Hornets trailed 43-36 after the first quarter against the Pelicans.

“No matter how good you are offensively, if you are going to play well, everybody’s got to defend,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “That’s every team.”

The Hornets haven’t won a home game since Dec. 8 against the Toronto Raptors. Their only victory over their last 18 contests came at Sacramento on Jan. 2.

Help has arrived for the Hornets with guard LaMelo Ball rounding back into form in three games since an ankle sprain caused him to miss a 20-game stretch. Ball had 29 points in his return against the Pelicans.

Friday’s contest will be Ball’s first at home since Nov. 22, when he racked up 34 points against the Washington Wizards.

San Antonio has won three games in the past month. Other than winning at home against Charlotte last week, the other two victories came on the road.

“It’s maturity, youth,” Popovich said.

In the Spurs’ recent victory against the Hornets, rookie Victor Wembanyama delivered 26 points and 11 rebounds. That began the first stretch of his early career with three consecutive games of more than 25 points.

Wembanyama has been San Antonio’s leading scorer in six of the last 12 games.

Spurs guard Devin Vassell had 21 points at Boston after scoring a total of 21 points in the previous three games.

“We’re trying to get him to defense himself into the game, not jump shoot himself into the game,” Popovich said. “It doesn’t always work that way. He has done that before and then shots start to fall.”

Charlotte center Nick Richards left with an injured right ankle in the first half Wednesday but came back to log 31 total minutes.

“He did a good job, both ends of the floor,” Clifford said.

Hornets guard Terry Rozier made 9 of 15 shots (60 percent) Wednesday for his best shooting percentage from the field this month. He drained seven 3-pointers for the second time in January and his ability to stretch defenses should be key, especially with Ball returning.

San Antonio’s 135 points against Charlotte last week marked the second-most points allowed by the Hornets this season.

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping