Charlotte Hornets vs. Utah Jazz Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2024

The Charlotte Hornets will try to make things right after one of their worst outings of a challenging season when the Utah Jazz visit Saturday night.

It will take a significant turnaround after the Hornets tumbled to a 138-104 home loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

“We’ve had good spirit all year,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “You have to have the right attitude.”

That might have been missing at times in the second half of the Houston game, which concerned Clifford. The Hornets were outscored 83-51 in the half.

“In this league, you’ve got to have the right intensity, the right concentration for 48 minutes,” he said. “You have to be able to play well when the game is not going well for your team and for you.”

Utah won 123-108 on Thursday at Washington to snap a three-game skid, so the Jazz should be in a better collective frame of mind.

“We don’t take any win on the road for granted,” said Jazz coach Will Hardy, whose team is 8-17 in road games. “Playing on the road in this league is very hard.”

For the Jazz, it was important to shake the skid and avoid increasing pressure that might have come with another defeat.

“We know what kind of team we are and what we are capable of, just get back to playing how we want to play and execute on both ends,” Utah forward Kelly Olynyk said.

A big boost came from forward John Collins, whose 22 points and 16 rebounds were the high marks in his first season as a member of the Jazz. Collins was a more frequent visitor to Charlotte during his first six NBA seasons when he played for the Atlanta Hawks.

“He’s maybe the best guy on our team at just snatching the ball with two hands above the rim,” Hardy said. “He’s aggressive going to the glass, he rebounds with force.”

Forward Lauri Markkanen has been Utah’s leading scorer in the team’s past four victories, but other parts of his game often aid the Jazz.

“There are also times when he’s drawing multiple defenders,” Hardy said. “Where it doesn’t show up in the stats is that if he draws multiple defenders and he kicks it, it puts their team in rotations.”

The Jazz’s depth could be a factor particularly against a Charlotte team that has been in a scramble mode in terms of its roster. Utah rates second in the NBA in bench scoring, getting 45.2 points per game from its reserves.

“We don’t have a lot of room for error,” Clifford said of going into the first matchup of the season with the Jazz.

Charlotte, which has lost eight of its past nine home games, was outrebounded 53-32 by the Rockets.

If there was a plus coming from Friday for the Hornets, it was that LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller were in foul trouble, limiting their minutes in the first game of a back-to-back set. Ball was on the court for just 23 minutes and Miller played 20 minutes.

–Field Level Media

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