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Preview: Charlotte Hornets versus Detroit Pistons

If the Hornets could somehow find out a way to get a win at home against the Pistons, they would be right back into the playoff "race".

Al was so close on that block...
Al was so close on that block...
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When: 7:00 P.M. EST

Where: Charlotte, NC, Time Warner Cable Arena

How to Watch: Fox Sports South, NBA League Pass

As of Tuesday night, the Hornets were just one and a half games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. With games upcoming against the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers, the team isn't out of the race quite yet. However, beating the Detroit Pistons is first on the agenda.

It is yet to be seen if the team will have Cody Zeller back to help. After trying to give it a go on Monday night and being unable to play due to a sore shoulder, it's probably optimistic to expect Zeller. On the flip side, the Pistons have been without Greg Monroe, who has had much success against the Hornets this year. If both players are out, that is a big advantage for Charlotte.

After a 28 point, 12 assist performance where he left his heart on the floor, Kemba Walker has hopefully rounded back into pre-injury form. However, guarding Reggie Jackson and being the Hornets' main offensive weapon will for sure take its toll. Last time these two teams met, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist guarded Jackson for the entire second half, holding him almost scoreless, and it was this adjustment that likely won the game for the Hornets. With Kidd-Gilchrist sidelined with an ankle injury, coach Steve Clifford will have to come up with another way to slow down Jackson, who after a rough start, may have found success playing with one big man (Andre Drummond) in a true four-out, one-in offense.

It's been said before, but it's worth repeating. This is a must-win-game for the Hornets. After the loss to Boston, where the team was out executed in all phases and players struggled to focus (Al Jefferson on the defensive glass, Mo Williams with ball security, Jeffery Taylor in all things offense... to name a few), starting with purpose and finishing with intensity will be key if the team has any hope of making a late season push for the playoffs.