The Utah Jazz will end their four game home stand against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, April 1st. The Jazz have won nine out of their last ten games and are currently fifth in the Western Conference standings. The Charlotte Hornets will come off the second game off a back to back. The night before playing the Jazz, the Hornets will be playing the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. The Hornets are currently tenth in the Eastern Conference standings and are two games behind the Miami Heat for the last playoff spot. The Hornets are coming off of a loss to the Lakers that stopped their four game winning streak. The last time the Jazz played the Hornets, it was November 30th, 2018, where the Jazz won 119-111.
For the Jazz, this season has been reminiscent of last season. The Jazz started the season struggling, going 19-28 and finished the year on a 29-6 run and an overall record of 48-34. This season, the Jazz started 14-17, including a 50 point loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Now, the Jazz are 46-30, and with a win against the Wizards last night, officially made the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Mitchell’s play was rough out of the gate, put certain positional changes at point guard and his increase in shooting percentage from 3 point-land brought him better fortune later in the season. Rudy Gobert is having the best season of his career, replicating his DPOY performance from last year and now has the NBA record for most dunks in a regular season. Currently, the Jazz are coming off a close win against the Wizards, 128-124. They will be looking for another win Monday night against the Hornets.
Meanwhile, the Hornets have been the epitome of mediocrity all season. They currently have a record of of 35-40. Throughout the season, Kemba Walker has been provided with very little support. Jeremy Lamb is their second main scoring option, averaging 15.3 PPG. Charlotte’s depth is extremely lacking; their bench play is in the bottom half of the NBA. With only seven games remaining, the Hornets need to start racking up win quickly if they want to go after that last playoff spot. However, games against Toronto, Utah, and Golden State will make that feat quite difficult. The Hornets will need some losses from the Heat, Nets, and Magic in hopes of making the playoffs. It’s a stretch, but the Hornets are still in the thick of it.
In terms of a prediction, I see the Jazz winning this game. The Jazz are one of the best teams in the NBA at home and they’re facing a below average Charlotte Hornets team that will be coming off the tail-end of a back to back against the Warriors. The Jazz have been on a roll, winning nine out of their last ten games. The Jazz are the fourth best team in the NBA in terms of OPPG and the Hornets are very limited in their scoring options outside of Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker. As a result, I have the Jazz winning this game, 110-98.