Spurs vs Hornets Preview 10/19/22

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Keldon Johnson looks to be a leader for Spurs vs Hornets to start 2022 season.
(Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

Ready or not y’all, the rosters have been trimmed and the 2022-2023 season is officially here. On Wednesday night, the San Antonio Spurs tip off their 50th season against the Charlotte Hornets inside the AT&T Center. A busy night from start to finish, the evening will feature the celebration of the Hall of Fame career of Manu Ginobili as well as the season opener. The Hornets (0-0) enter as one of the NBA’s exciting young squads but will likely be without their rising star LaMelo Ball. San Antonio (0-0), on the other hand, looks to defy the odds as they are projected to have one of the worst seasons in the franchise’s history. The Spurs vs Hornets game gets underway at 7 p.m. CST.

Spurs vs Hornets Game Details

Against Charlotte all-time, the Spurs are 44-20. Over the last two seasons, however, the team has struggled, dropping the last three contests. San Antonio last defeated the Hornets in February of 2021 on the road. Charlotte has won the last two games the Alamo City, going back to March of that year. Like the Spurs, the Hornets finished 10th in the Eastern Conference last season, losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in game.

Hornets Preview

Charlotte will be a little shorthanded against San Antonio, but that hasn’t made an impact as of late between the two teams. Ball is listed as “highly doubtful” as he is dealing with a left ankle sprain. Their season will likely go as he goes, so there is no rush to have him start the season on Tuesday, especially against the young Spurs. In his absence, Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier could be expected to both have a strong night.

Rozier has dominated San Antonio the last two years, averaging 25 points per game, twice scoring more than 30 points. Hayward has been right there with him, manhandling the Spurs last December to the tune of 41 points. While they are returning with a similar squad this year to last, there are questions as to how Charlotte will look under new head coach Steve Clifford who replaces James Borrego. The team went winless in the preseason.

Spurs Preview

After trading Dejounte Murray over the summer, San Antonio ushers in a new era of youth this season. Fourth-year man Keldon Johnson looks to assume the position of the team’s leader, a role he filled well against Charlotte last year. Despite the losses, he averaged 23 points per game against the Hornets, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. In the preseason finale against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Johnson picked up 19 points, connecting on 42 percent for the night. His 0-5 performance from the perimeter is something he looks to rebound from, however.

The test the Spurs will be how they handle the size of Charlotte, notably Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards. San Antonio already lacks depth in the paint behind Jakob Poeltl, and the return of Zach Collins from the NBA’s concussion protocol is a welcome sight. Plumlee is a traditional center who dominated the Spurs on the boards with 13 rebounds. While Poeltl battles him in the paint, Devin Vassell will have his hands full guarding Rozier with Johnson likely on Hayward. San Antonio’s young veterans will have a tough test to start the year.

Projected Starting Lineups – Spurs vs Hornets

Spurs
  • Center: Jakob Poeltl
  • Power Forward: Jeremy Sochan
  • Small Forward: Keldon Johnson
  • Shooting Guard: Devin Vassell
  • Point Guard: Tre Jones
Hornets
  • Center: Mason Plumlee
  • Power Forward: Jalen McDaniels
  • Small Forward: Gordon Hayward
  • Shooting Guard: Kelly Oubre Jr.
  • Point Guard: Terry Rozier

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