The Hornets have now won six of their last seven games following Wednesday’s primetime Scary Terry victory in Boston.
Currently sitting at 25-20, 7th in the East, Charlotte has finally created some cushion between themselves and the 11th seed. Based off what I’m about to tell you, a massive meltdown would need to occur for Charlotte to miss the Play-In Tournament.
Now, let’s look at this from a better perspective: Charlotte is only two games outside of the four seed where Milwaukee (28-19) resides. Speaking of Giannis and the Bucks, they actually have the hardest strength of schedule remaining. Charlotte, on the other hand, has the 18th hardest schedule left on the season. Point goes to Charlotte.
What about the 5 and 6 seed? At the moment, the fifth seed belongs to Philly, who has recently been getting MVP performances from Joel Embiid. Based on where the 76ers have gotten without Ben Simmons, I’m almost convinced they’d be the first seed in the East right now if their best play-maker and perimeter defender would just do his job, which is playing basketball. IT’S ALL YOU HAVE TO DO, BEN! But really though, just imagine how deadly the Simmons/Thybulle defense would look right now. I digress. No Ben Simmons: plus Charlotte.
If you’ve lived under a rock this season, please believe me when I tell you the Cavaliers are legit and are currently at six in the East. Evan Mobley will easily be the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. However, if you didn’t know about the Cavs, you also wouldn’t know that Collin Sexton is out of the season with a torn meniscus. Cavs veteran guard, Ricky Rubio, also suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Injuries are not fair, but thankfully, the Hornets haven’t encountered the same fate. Another point for Charlotte. Let’s move on to what really matters…
Brace yourselves- the Buzz City Hornets are only, wait for it… FOUR games outside of first place in the Eastern Conference. Ahead of them are the Bulls, Heat, and Nets, all in a tight race for the first seed. Although, the door may be opening for Miami as Kevin Durant and Lonzo Ball will miss an extended amount of time before the playoffs due to minor knee injuries. Also, Bam Adebayo has finally returned to the lineup for Miami.
I’m 100% aiming my sights too high, but these unfortunate injuries give Charlotte a shot to really climb in the standings. Not to mention, we play these three teams a combined seven more times. Even with these injuries I usually wouldn’t expect Charlotte to catch these top tier teams, but I’ve been saving the best piece of information favoring Charlotte for last. Out of the remaining 37 games, 23 will be played at Spectrum Center! The Hornets have only played 18 home games which is currently tied for last in the entire NBA with Orlando. POINT CHARLOTTE!
We could also discuss the potential in Charlotte if they become more consistent defensively as Bridges, LaMelo, Rozier, Hayward, and Oubre all average more than 16.5 points per game. What an insane stat!
Instead, we’ll end this discussion here with one final statement. The Hornets should at the least, with everything in favor of them, make the playoffs without the Play-In Tournament. I want more, but this is all I’ll ask of them.