The Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors continue life without their superstar point guards when they meet Saturday night in San Francisco’s new Chase Center.
The Hornets got 23 points from rookie PJ Washington when they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 118-111 victory at Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Charlotte has a new backcourt star, Terry Rozier, who was acquired when the club dealt Kemba Walker in a sign-and-trade to the Boston Celtics on July.
Quickly getting acclimated to his new surroundings, Rozier has averaged 19.3 points on the first three stops of the Hornets’ current four-game trip. He also logged a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists against Minnesota in Charlotte’s last home game before heading west.
Rozier will take the court Saturday with a career-high 15.2-point scoring average, which has been accumulated in just 29.8 minutes per game.
Why the relatively low number of minutes? Having been matched up with the likes of Sacramento’s lightning-fast De’Aaron Fox on Wednesday, Rozier leads the Hornets in fouls with 3.4 per game.
“I’ve just got to control them,” Rozier noted to reporters Thursday about his fouls. “Try to be aggressive, but not overly aggressive, where I put myself on the bench where I can’t help my team.”
Rozier won’t have Stephen Curry to worry about Saturday; the Golden State star broke his left hand earlier in the week.
The Warriors moved D’Angelo Russell to the point Friday against the Spurs, and the ex-Brooklyn Net exploded for 30 points to complement eight assists in a 127-110 loss.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr acknowledged before Friday’s game that finding a replacement for Curry is just one of his problems.
“Feel terrible for Steph,” he told reporters. “It’s been kind of a crazy run, especially if you just lump it back together with the last couple games of last season (when Kevin Durant blew out his Achilles and Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the NBA Finals) and the first four of this one. Over that six-game span, it’s just insane what’s happened.
“But we’ve had a lot of good fortune here, too, over the years. We don’t spend too much time thinking about what it all means. We just push forward and try to do our jobs,” Kerr said.
The Warriors have done their job against the Hornets over the years, prevailing in nine of the last 10 head-to-heads. The lone Golden State loss occurred when Curry was out with an injury and Walker had 16 points in a 111-100 Hornets road win in December 2017.
On top of featuring new point guards, both teams offer significantly new looks this season.
Devonte’ Graham, who averaged just 4.7 points per game as a rookie last season, currently leads the Hornets in scoring at a 16.4-per-game clip.
Meanwhile, Warriors rookie Jordan Poole has been pressed into starting duties twice already this season and has scored in double figures in both, including a season-best 20 on Friday against San Antonio.
–Field Level Media