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Hornets will try to get back on track against Kyrie Irving-less Nets

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The Hornets catch another break with their schedule.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (6-8) at Brooklyn Nets (5-8)

When: 7:30 pm EST

Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY

How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

The Charlotte Hornets are currently ahead of the Brooklyn Nets in the standings.

* Insert Paull Rudd “look at us” meme *

That’s not something many people would happen at any point in this season, much less after roughly 15% has passed. Last season’s scrappy Nets have morphed into a more star studded ensemble, but it hasn’t helped them in any regard. Kyrie Irving replaced D’Angelo Russell, DeAndre Jordan replaced Ed Davis, and it’s led to the Nets being worse both offensively and defensively.

Kyrie Irving has put monster individual numbers, but it’s not translating to wins. He’s missed the team’s last two games (and he’ll miss a third straight tonight), and the team went 1-1 in his absence (though the loss was a beatdown at the hands of the Pacers).

Their other marquee healthy signing is where the bigger problems lie. DeAndre Jordan is apparently well liked among NBA circles, and the Nets signed him kind of as a package deal with Irving and Kevin Durant. For as good as Jordan is at getting star players to want to play with him, he’s equally as bad at being an effective basketball player.

Jordan had a reputation for mailing it in the last couple seasons, but that was supposed to be a product of him saving himself while playing on bad teams. Now he’s on a team that’s supposed to be good, and nothing has changed. His average speed on defense is 3.37 miles per hour, third slowest among the 243 players that have logged at least 200 minutes this season. The two behind him are offensive juggernauts LeBron James and James Harden. He gets a lot of rebounds, but that’s more due to him always being next to the basket more than anything else. The Nets are being outscored by 10.9 points per 100 possessions while Jordan sits. They outscore their opponents by 1.3 points per 100 possessions when he sits, which is better than their net rating last season.

Spencer Dinwiddie will shoulder the scoring burden with Irving out; he’s averaged 26 points in the two outings without Irving and has led the team in scoring both games. Joe Harris is liable to kill the Hornets from the perimeter tonight. He’s shooting 43.2% from deep after leading the league in that category a season ago.

The Hornets need a bounce back in a major way after getting stomped by the Raptors on Monday night. They should come out refocused and energized after looking flat and out of sorts on Monday. Plus this Nets team is weak, especially without Irving. This is the type of team the Hornets can handle right now.