Hornets playoff primer

From now until the start of the playoffs, we’ll be providing a daily update on the Charlotte Hornets push to the NBA playoffs, by taking a look at what their magic number is to clinch, a look at what some of the other teams are doing, and taking a look ahead at the remaining games on the schedule for Charlotte in our daily playoff primer.

Magic number to clinch playoff berth: 2, meaning that any combination of Hornets wins or Chicago losses that equal up to 2 will send Charlotte to the NBA Playoffs for the 10th time in franchise history, and for only the third time in the last 2 seasons.  Charlotte managed to cut the magic number down to 2 last night, thanks to a resounding 100-85 win on the road in Philadelphia against the 76ers, behind Nic Batum’s 19 point outing to go along with 12 assists and 12 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season, and he becomes the first Charlotte Hornet with multiple triple-doubles in a season since Baron Davis did so back in the 2000-01 season with Charlotte.  As for the Chicago Bulls, they held on and won their game over the Indiana Pacers last night by the final score of 98-96.  The Hornets will be back in action on Friday night as they face the same 76ers at Time Warner Cable Arena, with a chance to clinch in front of their home fans.

Key games to watch: Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto Raptors(7:00 p.m.); Miami Heat @ L.A. Lakers(10:30 p.m.): Tonight’s games are huge in the Southeast Division title race, as the division-leading Hawks visit Toronto to face the Raptors, while the Miami Heat pays a visit to Los Angeles for their final showdown with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.  Charlotte is currently third in the division standings, trailing Atlanta by 1 1/2 games, and with the season winding down in a few weeks, the Hornets have to win and win now if they want to have a possible chance of capturing it’s first division title in the history of Charlotte NBA basketball(since 1988-89).

Remaining games left for CHA: 8(3 home vs. PHI, BKN, and ORL; 5 away at CLE, TOR, NYK, WAS, and BOS)

Eastern Conference standings

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 52-22
  2. Toronto Raptors: 49-24
  3. Atlanta Hawks: 45-30
  4. Miami Heat: 43-30
  5. Boston Celtics: 43-31
  6. CHARLOTTE HORNETS: 43-31
  7. Detroit Pistons: 40-35
  8. Indiana Pacers: 39-35

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In the hunt:

Chicago Bulls: 37-37

Washington Wizards: 36-38

 

Southeast Division standings

  1. Atlanta Hawks: 45-30
  2. Miami Heat: 43-30
  3. CHARLOTTE HORNETS: 43-31; trails ATL by 1 1/2 games for division lead
  4. Washington Wizards: 36-38
  5. Orlando Magic: 31-43; Eliminated from playoff contention