Some bad news follows Charlotte's latest loss as the team announced on Thursday that the Hornets will be without Nicolaus Batum (toe) and Cody Zeller (shoulder) for Friday's game. The two starters left during Charlotte's loss in OKC. Key reserve Jeremy Lamb has missed four consecutive games with a sprained toe and is listed as doubtful for Friday's match-up.
Charlotte has lost eight of their last ten games and 16 of their last 25. Yet, Steve Clifford's team is only 2.5 games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Friday's game will be a tough win since this roster will again be ravaged by injuries. It also happens to be a road game, which doesn't bode well for this team. A creeping theme to this season is the unexplainable struggles on the road. Charlotte is currently on a 10-game road losing streak. Coincidentally enough, that skid started on the road in Orlando.
The Magic aren't necessarily setting the world on fire either. They entered 2016 six games over .500 but have managed to go 1-8 in the month of January so far. Orlando blew an early lead to take an L to the lowly Sixers on Wednesday night. We imagine Charlotte's struggles are because of injuries. I'm not in-tune enough to know what is going on with the Magic, but from afar, it appears they're having some trouble putting a finger on their issues.
Victor Oladipo has missed the last two games with a knee injury and his status is uncertain for Friday night.
It's a frustrating time for Charlotte because of the injury bug but that doesn't mean this time of the year hasn't supplied some bright spots. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was cleared for full-contact practice this week. Kemba Walker followed his franchise record 52-point game against Utah with 21 points against the Thunder. And the play of Frank Kaminsky cannot be understated at the moment. Could he be immune to the rookie wall? It may have tried to build itself and the rook may have powered right through it. Big Frank has averaged 15.5 points and six rebounds in the Hornets' last four games.
Orlando has lost all three of their home games in 2016 but Charlotte will be undermanned in Friday's bout. The Magic will still have Tobias Harris, who had great success last time out against the Hornets. Nikola Vucevic should have a field day without Zeller or any real kind of rim presence on defense. Expect Charlotte's road skid to pop to 11 games.