Charlotte Hornets vs. Toronto Raptors Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 8th 2023


The Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets have a lot in common. And that isn’t necessarily good.

At least one of the struggling teams will come away with a victory when they meet Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.

Both teams lost Wednesday night, each for the fourth time in five games. The Raptors dropped a 112-103 decision to the visiting Miami Heat. Charlotte went on the road and endured a 111-100 setback to the Chicago Bulls.

Hard times for the Raptors and Hornets have been related to lack of attention to details.

“I thought that our discipline was not where it needs to be,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “We just did not do what we’re supposed to do there. So definitely it’s concerning, definitely something that we’re going to look at the film.”

The Hornets could benefit from the availability of center Mark Williams, who missed a game for the first time this season Wednesday night with a back contusion. His absence might have contributed to the Bulls grabbing a season-high 21 offensive rebounds.

Nick Richards took a spot in the starting lineup to replace Williams.

Even with the overall 57-42 rebounding deficit, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said the team’s 16 turnovers were most harmful.

“I felt like that was how the game slipped away,” Clifford said. “You’re not getting the shots.”

Charlotte’s Gordon Hayward matched his season-high mark with 27 points and Terry Rozier had 25 points in the loss in Chicago.

“He played well the other night, too,” Clifford said of Hayward. “Shots were there, opportunities were there.”

Toronto forward Pascal Siakam had 30 points in the Miami game. That marked the fourth time he has scored 30 or more points this season. He leads the team with 20.5 points per game for one of the NBA’s lowest-scoring teams, averaging 110.8 points per game.

The offensive concerns stem in part from Dennis Schroder, who has been held to single-digit point totals in two of the past three games. He is averaging 15.5 points per game.

The good thing for the Raptors could be going against a Charlotte team that surrenders 121.6 points per game. Opponents are shooting almost 39 percent on 3-pointers against the Hornets.

But little has come smoothly for the Raptors lately.

“It’s a challenge,” Rajakovic said. “We want to win right now and be the best right now but we got to understand it takes some time for guys to start clicking, to trust, to find a way they are really going to influence the team, to find the rhythm there. For me, the big picture and really understanding what we’re trying to achieve and how we want to develop our roster and our team, that for me is the most important thing.”

The Raptors have lost their past two road games.

This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams, who’ll clash again Dec. 18 in Toronto.

The Raptors-Hornets game for Friday night was added to the schedule after the teams were eliminated from the first NBA in-season tournament.

This begins a stretch of four home outings in a five-game stretch for Charlotte, which has played at home only once since Nov. 22.

–Field Level Media

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