Sam Sharpe/USA Today Sports

Charlotte hosts Portland in a game that will feature familiar faces

The Charlotte Hornets hope to even its record at 5-5 in a Sunday evening match-up against Portland in Time Warner Cable Arena.

Charlotte is returning home and will be in the Queen City for most of the calendar year. On Sunday, some familiar faces will be in Time Warner Cable Arena to battle the Hornets.

Nicolas Batum, who is playing despite dealing with the traumatic events in his homeland, will also get to face his former team Sunday. With Batum averaging 16 points per contest, it is looking like the Hornets are getting the better of the trade that sent Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson to Portland. 

The Hornets are coming off a five-point loss in Chicago Friday but will be in Buzz City for 16 of the team’s next 22 contests, including seven of the next eight to close out November.

Portland is in rebuilding mode but its backcourt is scoring at a phenomenal rate. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are combining for 46.7 points per game, second-best among duos in the NBA with only Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combining to score more (53.3). 

The Trail Blazers were leading Detroit by 15 points in the fourth quarter just a week earlier and were cruising towards a fourth straight win. 

The Pistons outscored Portland by 30 points in the fourth quarter and used a 24-0 run over a six minute span to stun the Blazers on the road. Instead of winning its fourth straight, it was the beginning of a four-game losing streak. 

Portland is in the second game of a four-game road trip. The Blazers lost by a point in Memphis on Friday and follow up its game in Charlotte with a swing through Texas in San Antonio and Houston.

Two of Portland’s starters played their college ball near Charlotte in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Al-Farouq Aminu played about 80 miles down the road in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest. Mason Plumlee attended Duke, where he won a national title as a freshman in 2010. 

A pair of reserves for the Trail Blazers also attended ACC schools. Ed Davis spent two seasons in Chapel Hill at North Carolina and, like Plumlee, also won a national championship as a freshman in 2009. Henderson left Duke that season as a junior and was Charlotte’s first round pick (12th overall) in the draft. He spent six seasons in the Queen City and averaged 12 points per game.

McCollum is also familiar to some ACC and local observers. He helped Lehigh upset Plumlee and Duke in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in nearby Greensboro. McCollum torched the Blue Devils for 30 points that evening. The contest came during his junior season where he was also named Patriot League Player of the Year---the second time he had won the honor after also winning as a freshman.

Charlotte Projected Starters 

Position

Player

Height

PPG

G

Kemba Walker

6-1

15.0

G

Nicolas Batum

6-8

16.0

F

P.J. Hairston

6-6

5.1

F

Marvin Williams

6-9

10.8

C

Al Jefferson

6-10

12.7


Portland Projected Starters

Position

Player

Height

PPG

G

Damian Lillard

6-3

25.3

G

C.J. McCollum

6-4

21.4

F

Al-Farouq Aminu

6-9

13.0

F

Mason Plumlee

6-11

9.5

C

Chris Kaman

7-0

4.0