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Charlotte Hornets vs Indiana Pacers preview

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The Hornets are looking to bounce back after an embarrassing loss to the 76ers last night.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It happens to all teams.

You're playing well, snatching wins from tough opponents and moving up in the standings despite injuries to important players. You come up against a lowly team — often intentionally horrible — who hands you a loss. Just your fourth loss in your last 16 games, too, and the team that handed it to you has a winning percentage of .231.

These things just happen.

Luckily, the Charlotte Hornets have a chance to get back to their winning ways when they take on the Indiana Pacers tonight. The Pacers, much like last night's 76ers, aren't very good. They're not tanking, however, and despite a lack of depth at most positions and missing their best player, the Pacers are actually performing better than many expected them to. In fact, they're just 2.5 games out of the eighth seed. The Eastern Conference may be weak, but the Pacers aren't slacking.

The Hornets need a win tonight, especially against a team that will float between the tenth and eighth seed for much of the season. Unfortunately, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will likely miss tonight's game after straining his hamstring against the 76ers last night. That's a huge blow, and one that may force Jeff Taylor into the lineup.

Al Jefferson will need to be dominant on the boards and in the post. He's the only player the Hornets have that could possibly negate Roy Hibbert's presence, whether by drawing fouls or hurting his confidence.

And, as we've seen lately, the Hornets will also need Gerald Henderson to step up. He can create his own shot in a pinch, and moves exceptionally well off the ball. That motion will be helpful for a team that won't have its best cutter, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, available tonight.

Also, this will be Lance Stephenson's second last game against his former team this season, if you're into that type of stuff.

It won't be an easy win, but it's certainly within reach.