San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

The San Antonio Spurs have rediscovered their winning formula and will look to build just their second win streak of the season when they host the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

The Spurs head home for a two-games-in-two-nights homestand before heading on a five-game trip against Eastern Conference teams. San Antonio’s most recent outing was a 130-108 win at Detroit, the only team in the NBA with a worse record than the Spurs.

“We had the better of it (on Wednesday),” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the win over the Pistons. “But both teams are developing, trying to get players to understand how to play. As the future goes, we’ll see which guys stick, which guys don’t, that sort of thing. It was our night tonight, can be totally different when we play in our place.”

San Antonio clubbed the Pistons thanks to Victor Wembanyama’s 16-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double (the first of his NBA career), which the 20-year-old rookie phenom produced in just 21 minutes, making it the second-fastest triple-double in NBA history.

Keldon Johnson added 17 points and Devin Vassell had 16 for San Antonio, which snapped a five-game losing streak and racked up its largest margin of victory this season. The Spurs’ other five wins this year have been by a combined 43 points.

“These last couple of games we’ve just been playing better,” Vassell said. “It feels like, to me, we’re starting to get on the right track. We’re starting to play together as a team. Starting to be connected on the offensive end, and the defensive end. Wemby having a triple-double tonight was huge for us.”

It helped that eight San Antonio players reached double-figure scoring as Jeremy Sochan poured in 15 points, Doug McDermott scored 14 and Dominick Barlow, Tre Jones and Cedi Osman tallied 11 apiece.

The Hornets have dropped three straight games and 14 of the past 15, including a 123-98 home setback to Sacramento on Wednesday. Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 24 points while Terry Rozier poured in 22 points, Brandon Miller racked up 15 points and Nick Smith Jr. had 11.

Charlotte has only one victory since Dec. 11, and it was against the Kings on Jan. 2 in Sacramento. But the Hornets had little chance of a repeat and were ultimately doomed on Wednesday when they allowed an 18-8 run to start the fourth quarter that ballooned Sacramento’s advantage.

“Sometimes we’re great on defense and sometimes we’re terrible,” Bridges said after the loss. “We’ve just got to play the same every time and have a true identity. I feel like our identity changes every game, so we’ve got to just stick to our identity and have that be us.”

Charlotte joins San Antonio (six), Washington (six) and Detroit (three) as the only four teams in the NBA with fewer than 10 victories this season.

“It takes a good deal of intensity and concentration to play well, no matter how talented you are,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “(Wednesday night), we did not have that. Hopefully this is a lesson learned for our younger guys. Almost to a man, not close to what we were a week ago. Not close.”

–Field Level Media

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