The Charlotte Hornets are playing their best basketball of the season right now. Since February, Charlotte has won eight of their last 10 games, and have climbed all the way to sixth in the standings in the Eastern conference. They're only half a game behind the Atlanta Hawks and are going to continue their push with all of their players healthy, and so many guys playing great basketball.
Right behind the Hornets in the standings are the Indiana Pacers. They're half a game back of Charlotte, and a win would put them ahead which is where they want to be come the end of the season. With the Hornets two victories, earlier in the season, Charlotte has the tiebreaker over Indiana.
So obviously it's an important game, and really both sides know the matchups by now. Paul George is a monster on the perimeter and Myles Turner has been making a late case as one of the five best rookies this year with some incredible play. To show how important he is to this team. When the Pacers are in the closing minutes of a close game they will give the ball to Turner while looking for a bucket. He's that good.
Of course, everybody on Charlotte is playing great right now, so they can overcome all of Indiana's fire power. Kemba Walker has shown the ability to break down the Indiana defense, and Nicolas Batum can punish Paul George whenever he rotates over to provide help on drives or passes to the interior. That said, the Pacers are still one of the better teams in the East with an incredible coach in Frank Vogel. The coaching matchup of Vogel vs Steve Clifford will be fun to see even if it's just a one off game and not a full seven game series.
Also worth keeping an eye on is Al Jefferson. Noticeably tired since returning from injury, he's starting to get back into game shape and has been looking better every game. It'll be interesting to see if the Hornets consider bringing him back into the starting lineup when he's in shape, or sticking with Cody Zeller at Center. Jefferson has provided a nice scoring punch off the bench, but he doesn't seem to fit with the second unit as well as Zeller does. It'll be interesting to see which of the two is able to handle Myles Turner better, because that's the player that will likely finish out the game.