When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV / Radio: CSN / Fox Sports Southeast / WFNZ 610 AM
If you haven't heard, the Charlotte Hornets are expected to make the playoffs. 13 of the next 23 contests come against teams who haven't even won half their own, and 12 of those last 23 are at home, where the Hornets hold the 7th best record in the league.
There's a good chance its the easiest schedule of any remaining team in the league, a narrative that's not hard to follow given the Hornets next task: the 8-52 Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers may be the single realest tanking experiment the NBA has ever seen. They are awful. They've chosen to throw three seasons straight into the trash, in order to load up on second round picks and young, flawed big men. It'll be interesting to see BIg Al match up with his own skill set doppelganger, Jahlil Okafor, but the rest of the roster is fairly non-threatening.
In theory, they should be no challenge at all to the win-now Hornets, that is unless Charlotte takes its foot off the gas. Even Golden State, the team that's going to break the single season wins record, loses to bad teams. In fact, they do so almost exclusively. No stellar NBA squad has yet to beat them this year, but somehow the bad ones manage to sneak up and steal a W — like when you let your younger sibling score a little too much on you in friendly game of driveway pick up, only to realize you're in danger of letting a three and a half year winning streak say go straight out the door.
That's what the Hornets need to be careful of. They have a real chance to stay in the top six in the Eastern Conference, and therefore avoid having to play Cleveland and Toronto. Any other team in the conference the Hornets can match up with talent-wise, and not only snag the franchise's first post-2000 playoff win, but perhaps even a series. Last night's blowout win over Phoenix was a good indication the team has its mind right. Lets just hope they sprint to the finish line.