Nicolas Batum will participate in pre-game warm-ups and may return for Game 5 tonight, Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said after shoot-around today. Batum said his ankle is "sore, but manageable" and that he expects to play tonight, according to Sun Sentinel's Christy Chirinos.
Batum missed two games for the Hornets while recovering from a sprained ankle. Both games were wins in Charlotte. He averaged 16.5 points on 40 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds, two assists, and 2.5 turnovers in the two games he played in Miami.
While the Hornets had the sixth-best home record in the league this year, they were lacklustre 18-23 on the road. And Game 5 is in Florida.
Batum's combination of size, passing, and shooting helped the Hornets go 41-29 in games he appeared in during the regular season, and those same attributes will have a tremendous impact on the their success tonight. More than anything, the Hornets probably most miss Batum's size. Having Courtney Lee and Jeremy Lin guard Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, and Dwyane Wade has worked out better than expected, but it's no long-term solution.
There are a few concerns, however. How good does his ankle feel, and how many minutes should he play? Should he re-enter the starting lineup, or come off the bench to allow a frontcourt of Marvin Williams, Frank Kaminsky, and Al Jefferson to ride a wave of success?
Hive Talk Live's Doug Branson and David Walker discussed just those things on this morning's Hive O'Clock Alarm. Listen below.