The Raptors continue to struggle and Dave Gray thinks the Hornets can head home with a big upset win...
"Defensively they used to be so tenacious and aggressive but now they sit 19th in defensive efficiency and scoring."
Charlotte Hornets @ Toronto Raptors
Friday, 00:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Raptors can't get going
It has been a common theme in these picks but once again we are looking at the struggling Raptors. It is hard to say exactly why they have dropped off so much from last season. The obvious is the relocation to Florida, but that does not explain why they have gone from one of the strongest, most competitive sides in the Eastern Conference to a 2-8 team that looks lost.
They were never the most explosive offence, even though they could certainly put up points. But defensively they used to be so tenacious and aggressive but now they sit 19th in defensive efficiency and scoring.
LaMelo off to hot start
The Hornets are a team that seem to be moving in the right direction. Gordon Hayward is leading the team with 22.5 points per night and LaMelo Ball, although early in his career, looks like he is at the very least going to be an exciting prospect. Last week he became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double and as his minutes go up, he will only improve.
Charlotte are playing some very good defence. They are top 10 so far this season and it is just making them tough to beat. They have not given up more than 114 points all season, even facing some of the better offences in the league.
Backing against the Raptors again
The Hornets are on the second of back-to-back games, but this Raptors team is struggling way too much to give up eight points to anybody. Charlotte have not been spectacular, but they have been solid and even if Hayward misses out - he left last night's game with injury - they should be strong enough defensively to keep this one close. It is just too hard to back Toronto with their current form and until they show they have turned things around, I am going to keep on betting against them.