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Preview: Hornets and Nets face off in a high-stakes showdown

Charlotte and Brooklyn are separated by just one game in the Eastern Conference standings.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (38-36) at Brooklyn Nets (39-35)

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Barclay’s Center; Brooklyn, NY

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Well this worked out well. The Hornets played at home Friday night then had a rest day Saturday before facing the Brooklyn Nets in New York tonight. Meanwhile, last night the Nets played a road game against the Miami Heat then made the quick turnaround trip home to face Charlotte on the second night of a back-to-back. Thanks, NBA schedulers!

The stakes in this game are huge. The Nets are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Hornets are the No. 9 seed, separated by just one game. The difference between those two seeds are huge during the play-in tournament. The No. 8 seed needs to win one of two play-in games to earn a trip to the playoffs. The No. 9 seed needs to win two consecutive games to make the postseason.

The Hornets goal for the rest of the regular season is to get ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and stay there. Tonight’s game is a big one.

Brooklyn Nets overview

Forward Kevin Durant and point guard Kyrie Irving form arguably the most potent one-two scoring punch in the NBA. Shooting guard Seth Curry has been day-to-day recently with an ankle injury and is among the league’s most accurate 3-point shooters. Forward Bruce Brown is more of a role player who happens to start while veteran center Andre Drummond usually hovers somewhere around a double-double most nights.

The Nets bench boasts a ton of veteran savvy and playoff experience with point guard Goran Dragic, shooting guard Patty Mills, and James Johnson. Rookie guard Cam Thomas, the No. 27 pick in the 2021 draft, averages about nine points per game off the bench.

How the Hornets can win

Charlotte proved in Friday night’s clutch win versus the Utah Jazz they can win games against good teams. One of the keys in the victory against the Jazz was the Hornets ability to control the glass. Charlotte corralled 16 offensive rebounds to Utah’s nine. Mason Plumlee and Miles Bridges were particularly good with four offensive boards each. Brooklyn is a below-average defensive rebounding team - they rank dead last in defensive rebound percentage - so the Hornets bigs should be able to generate some additional possessions.

Not only is this a big game as the Hornets jockey for playoff position with the Nets, but Charlotte’s schedule gets harder from here. Three of the Hornets next four games are against some of the better teams in the league in the Denver Nuggets, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat.

The Hornets have just closed out a solid win against the Jazz. Let’s hope for another one tonight against the Nets.

Poll

What do you predict for tonight’s game?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Hornets win easy
    (5 votes)
  • 40%
    Hornets win a close one
    (40 votes)
  • 15%
    Nets win a close one
    (15 votes)
  • 39%
    Nets win easy
    (39 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now