Warriors vs Hornets – NBA Pick for December 6th
- Spread: Warriors -6
The Golden State Warriors still have the second-best record in the Western Conference, but it hasn’t really been smooth sailing for them of late. They’ve been dealing with a variety of injuries to key players, the latest of which is a bad ankle sprain for star guard Stephen Curry. Curry went down with the injury the other night in New Orleans and he left the arena on crutches.
There was no structural damage on Curry’s ankle, but he’s still expected to be sidelined for a while. Golden State will miss him, but this team certainly still has enough talent to keep winning games without him. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green is still about as strong a trio as you’ll find anywhere in the league.
The Warriors have played 1 game with those 3 in the lineup without Curry this season, and it was a 110-100 win at home over the Orlando Magic. Tonight’s game in Charlotte will be a far tougher test, however.
The Hornets aren’t world-beaters at 9-13, and they’ll be without their own head coach, Steve Clifford, who is away from the team in order to address a health issue. Charlotte is coming off a 10-point victory over the Magic, but prior to that they had lost 4 consecutive games.
Everything Charlotte wants to do offensively starts with Kemba Walker. Walker may be the most underrated point guard in the game at this point. He doesn’t get much publicity, but he just keeps chugging along and putting up numbers. The UConn product is averaging 22.7 points and better than 6 assists per game so far this season. He’s also connecting on 35 percent of his looks from long range.
Walker returned from a shoulder injury to play against Orlando and he looked no worse for the wear. Kemba finished with 29 points, 7 assists, 3 steals and a couple of boards in the victory.
The Hornets also recently got Nicolas Batum back from injury and he appears to be rounding into form. Batum put forth arguably his best effort of the young season against the Magic, as he stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 11 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, a block and a steal in 37 minutes. Batum is the kind of player that thrives in up-tempo matchups, so he should be well suited to succeed tonight against Golden State.
With Curry off the floor, a few other Warriors see sizable hikes in their offensive roles. KD leads the team with a hefty 33.2% usage rate with Curry out, while Klay Thompson is second at 29.2%. That’s a 4.2% usage hike for Thompson, and a 2.7% increase for Durant.
They won’t have an easy time with Charlotte, but the spread looks a little small at 6 points. Golden State is still an incredibly talented team and they would still be presumptive favorites to win the title even if Curry were out for the season. Charlotte is a decent value on the moneyline, but we trust the Warriors to cover that 6-point spread.