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Charlotte Hornets vs Toronto Raptors preview

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This game was supposed to be on ESPN at one point!

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When: 7:00 PM EST

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena

TV: Fox Sports South, League Pass

Remember when the schedule for the season came out, and everybody saw that the Charlotte Hornets had a couple of ESPN games against the Toronto Raptors at the end of the season? This was exciting! Now the whole country would get to see the new and improved on Hornets on national television, with their awesome teal, and it would be right in the middle of likely a tight playoff race. The only question was which seed would they be battling for?

Well, so much for that plan. ESPN replaced the game with Boston-Detroit, because those two teams are more entertaining to watch, and Boston is not a zombie team pretending to still be in the playoff race. This is disappointing, especially with how many great games these two teams have played the last couple years, but that's just the way it is.

It's hard to say that a team as injured as the Hornets are battling for their playoff lives tonight, but that's what they're technically doing so lets just roll with it. They need a win over the Raptors to give themselves a chance and that just feels really unlikely. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, and Al Jefferson are all supposed to miss tonight's game, and Charlotte just isn't talented enough to really expect a win.

On the other side of things, Toronto is currently in a bit of a funk themselves. They have what looks like the fourth seed locked up, and are mainly just trying to keep that home court advantage for the first round. However, they've played some truly atrocious basketball at times this season, and are a shell of the Raptors team that rocketed out of the gates to start the year. Everybody is struggling, and Kyle Lowry has been fighting injuries late in the season. Their defense is one of the worst in the NBA, but they make up for that with a pretty good offense.

If the Hornets are going to win tonight then they will have to shut down Toronto's offense, which isn't out of the question considering how good Charlotte can be on defense at times. If they can do that then the Raptors bad defense might be just bad enough to allow Charlotte a chance at winning. Just a shame nobody will be able to see it.