Where: Spectrum Center: Charlotte, North Carolina
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: ESPN
The Charlotte Hornets look to break a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night as they take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Charlotte is coming off yet another fourth quarter collapse against the Celtics last Friday in Boston. However, there should be a bit of positive energy going into this matchup with Lebron James and the Cavs.
After suffering what looked to be a season-ending elbow injury in the preseason, Nicolas Batum returns to the lineup. However, he will be on a minutes restriction so continue to expect a lot of Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, and Dwayne Bacon. Each of them have provided good contributions so far and will be needed going forward.
While Boston is off to a hot start, the Cavaliers haven’t seen the same results. Their defense has been porous and they’ve needed to barely get by in the last few games. Lebron James hit a go-ahead three against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Monday night and loves going against the Hornets.
For the Hornets to win this game, they have to be able to close out in the fourth quarter. Hopefully with Batum back it will make things a bit simpler on offense. On defense, the team must be able to run the Cavs off of the three point line. They have a lot of great shooters to space the floor. Overall, it isn’t really about stopping Lebron, but the team must be able to stop the supporting cast members.
Overall, it will be interesting to see what Steve Clifford does with his rotations now that Batum is back. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and him on minutes restrictions, the rookie backcourt of Monk and Bacon must play well in big minutes. Kemba Walker looks to benefit from having the creativity of Batum back in the lineup.
The Hornets should be up for this one considering the talent level is very high on the other side. They should also be fresh after a four day break between their game in Boston and this game. We will see if the Hornets can bounce back and end their losing streak against the Cavs.