Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 5:00 p.m. EST
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets will hope to snap a five game losing streak as they host the Phoenix Suns today.
Well, I assume they will hope to.
The Hornets were outplayed by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, decreasing their playoff chances to their lowest point of the season. The players looked tired and uninterested — both signs of a team that’s succumb to the grind of a what was always an unlikely playoff push.
It’s unlikely we’ll see rotational changes today — the consensus seems to be that Charlotte won’t start playing younger guys until they are mathematically eliminated — but another uninspired performance could alter that timeline, particularly given today’s opponent.
Speaking of which, the Phoenix Suns, like the Hornets, are not very good either. Losers of four straight and 19 of the last 21, they are still looking for their 20th win of the season. All this was expected, mind you, which is the clear distinction between the two — Phoenix expected to be here, Charlotte didn’t.
The Hornets won the away fixture earlier this season, 115-110, but Phoenix made it difficult. The Suns led at halftime, and without a strong 4th quarter, the Hornets would have lost. But mindset was different at that point, as Charlotte still believed they could turn the season around. If Phoenix takes commanding lead today, will the Hornets have it in them to come back?
I’m interested in who competes today. The players undoubtedly know their playoff chances are over, so who continues to play hard may indicate who is still interested in playing for the team this season and beyond.
- Michael Carter-Williams elected for surgery yesterday, which ended his season. It means Malik Monk becomes the backup point guard for the rest the season. This is a good an audience as ever for the rookie to showcase what he can do now and potentially do in the future.
- Phoenix could be without four key players today, including T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson, Tyson Chandler, and Devin Booker.
- Former Hornets guard Troy Daniels played 30 minutes in their most recent game against the Thunder. If Booker and other rotation players are out, expect another heavy shift for the shooting guard, who is connecting on 39 percent from the 3-point line.
- Newly acquired point guard Elfrid Payton is averaging 15.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 11 games with the Suns. Not bad for a guy acquired by just a second round pick.