When: Friday, April 3 at 7 pm EST
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
As Charlotte continues to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs, they take on another team fighting for that same spot in the Indiana Pacers — a team that has given the Hornets fits this season. Charlotte is looking to split the season series against the Pacers, who have beaten the Hornets on two separate last-second shots this season (if you really want to put yourself through that pain, there are available here and here). The first three games between the two teams have been decided by a combined 12 points, so expect another close game tonight.
Charlotte has plenty going against them going into the Friday night showdown. Currently sitting two games behind the Brooklyn Nets, the team has not played well overall as of late, going 3-7 in their last 10 games — though their last game was a thrashing of the Detroit Pistons that more or less ending their postseason ambitions.
History is also not on the Hornets' side — the team has lost 11 consecutive games at Indiana, including the aforementioned heartbreaker at the hands of Solomon Hill and a missed box out. The Pacers are also 16-3 in their last 19 games against Charlotte and have held the Hornets to an average of 88.6 points per game when games are played in Indianapolis.
Then, there are the injuries. Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are questionable (at best) for the game tonight, and Al Jefferson is still not at 100 percent, having his knee drained earlier this week for the third time in eight days.
The Pacers are suffering from struggles of their own. After tearing it up for the past month or so, the team has gone as cold as Charlotte, going 2-9 in their last 11 games and giving up 105.7 points per game over that span.
The Hornets will need a big game from their scoring guard duo of Kemba Walker and Mo Williams on both sides of the ball. With Jefferson struggling, Walker and Williams will be excited to carry the scoring load while slowing down George Hill of the Pacers. Additionally, Jeff Taylor will need to continue to play well if MKG is unable to go.
As with every game from this point forward, Charlotte's playoff lives are on the line. Win and stay alive. Lose and go home. Can the Hornets keep the dream alive?