The Sacramento Kings will be hosting the Charlotte Hornets in Golden 1 Center where they have won 4 straight games. The Kings recently made a blockbuster trade to send their All-Star Center Demarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. In their first game since the trade and since the All-Star break, their young core of players stepped up big time, playing with a chip on their shoulders to take down the Denver Nuggets 116-110. Third-year center Willie Cauley-Stein scored a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds. The rookies Skal Labissière (drafted 28th overall) and Buddy Hield (part of Cousins trade) added 12 and 16 points shooting a combined 11-17 from the field. Meanwhile, the Hornets have been struggling watching their season slowly sink before their eyes. In their past 10 games the Hornets are 1-9 with their only win coming against the only team still in single-digit wins this season, the Brooklyn Nets. The Hornets have lost 5 straight games and since they are playing on the road with an 8-20 road record, I like Sacramento a lot in this matchup. The hornets also have injuries in their front court with Miles Plumlee out for his 2nd straight game and Cody Zeller listed as questionable as of now. They already have a length disadvantage against the Kings and having both centers injured could hurt them in the paint against a long 7-footer Willie-Cauley Stein.
The Indiana Pacers will be heading to American Airlines Arena visiting the Miami Heat. The Heat have been red-hot winning 15 of their previous 17 games. 13 straight wins amidst that statistic. Both teams are coming off a win last night but for the Pacers, it was the first win after 6 straight losses. Offensively Paul George had a terrible night shooting just 3-12 for 9 points so I do expect him to bounce back from that and play well tonight but despite his efforts, the Pacers will still lose. The Heat will defeat the Pacers in a low-scoring effort by locking them down on defense and out-rebounding them. Miami ranks 6th in opponents points per game meanwhile Indiana ranks 20th. In total rebounds per game Miami ranks 5th and Indiana is 29th. The Heat have moved all egos aside and are on a mission to reach the playoffs being 2 games behind the Pistons for the 8th seed in the East. Everybody is buying in at the right time and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra is proving people like me wrong who only seen his success as a result from coaching teams with Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh on the roster.