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The Hornets can still make the playoffs

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With just four games left in the season, let’s take a look at what needs to happen for the Hornets to make the playoffs.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This Charlotte Hornets season has been a roller coaster ride full of the shortest ups and downs humanly possible. Somehow this team has managed to never lose nor win more than three games in a row save for a four game winning streak a couple weeks ago. That four game winning streak revived the Hornets previously desolate playoff hopes.

Then, in true Hornets fashion, their play went haywire and they dropped three straight games. Those renewed playoff aspirations were killed as quickly as they were resurrected.

Now, basking in the glow of a one game winning streak, we again resurrect those hopes and hitch them to a not-too-far-fetched-but-still-pretty-unlikely scenario that would see the Hornets slip into the postseason. Here’s how it can happen:

  • The Hornets have to win out. This is practically non-negotiable. One loss makes the Hornets too dependent on too many losses.

Assuming the Hornets win out, they need two of these three things to happen.

  • The Heat go no better than 2-2 over their final four games. They play at the Timberwolves, at the Raptors, home for 76ers, and at the Nets. That’s tough. It was also revealed today that their best player, Josh Richardson, is probably out for the remainder of the regular season. That’s tougher.
  • The Magic lose to either the Hawks or Celtics. They play the Celtics on the road on Sunday, and that seems like the more likely place for them to lose. The only problem is that they’re 2-0 against the Celtics this season, but maybe that’ll add extra motivation for Boston. Of course in this scenario, the Magic have to drop the final game of the season to the Hornets as well.
  • The Brooklyn Nets win no more than one of their final three games. They play at Milwaukee and at Indiana before coming home to host the Heat. They’ve lost four out of five, so this is very possible.

In simplest terms, the Hornets need to finish the season with a 40-42 record and hope that at least two of Orlando, Miami, and Brooklyn do the same. The Hornets have every tie breaker, meaning no matter what permutation of teams ends up tied at 40-42, the Hornets will get the highest seed. If three teams end up tied at 40-42, the Hornets get the eight seed. If all four finish 40-42, the Hornets get the seven seed.