Hornets Daily Playoff Primer

From now until the start of the playoffs, we’ll be giving you daily updates at where the Charlotte Hornets are in the playoff race, and what their magic number to clinch is, as well as looking at the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division standings and some of the key games to watch in the playoff race.

Magic number: The magic number for the Hornets to clinch a playoff berth is currently at 2, meaning that any combination of Charlotte wins or Chicago Bulls losses that equal up to two would lock up a playoff berth for the Hornets, which will be their 10th overall in franchise history and only their third playoff appearance in the last two seasons.  Chicago won their game last night against the Rockets in Houston, keeping the magic number at two.

Hornets move back to 5th thanks to Blazer win: Late last night, the Portland Trail Blazers did the Hornets a favor by defeating the Boston Celtics 116-109, allowing Charlotte to move into sole possession of 5th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Key games to watch: Philadelphia 76ers @ Charlotte(7:00 p.m.); Cleveland Cavaliers @ Atlanta Hawks(8:00 p.m.); Miami Heat @ Sacramento Kings(10:00 p.m.); Boston Celtics @ Golden State Warriors(10:30 p.m.): The Hornets are back home at “The Hive” tonight with an opportunity to reduce the magic number to just one as they face the Philadelphia 76ers for only the second time this week.  Not only that, they could have an opportunity to make a statement in the Southeast Division title race, with division rivals Atlanta and Miami both playing tonight(ATL is home to CLE, while MIA is on the road at SAC).  Charlotte enters play today tied for second in the division, and they trail Atlanta by 1 game for the division lead, so if the Hornets want to capture their first division title in franchise history, they have to win and win often, by any means necessary. As for the Celtics, they pay a visit to Oakland to face Stephen Curry and the defending champion Golden State Warriors.  Charlotte leads Boston by a game for the 5th spot in the East, and we all know that Golden State is one of the toughest teams to beat at home this season, so this might be a night for the Hornets to hopefully make a lot of gains in both, the Southeast Division title race, and the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Eastern Conference Standings:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 53-22
  2. Toronto Raptors: 50-24
  3. Atlanta Hawks: 45-31
  4. Miami Heat: 43-31
  5. CHARLOTTE HORNETS: 43-31
  6. Boston Celtics: 43-32
  7. Detroit Pistons: 40-35
  8. Indiana Pacers: 39-36

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In the Hunt:

  • Chicago Bulls: 38-37
  • Washington Wizards: 36-39

Southeast Division Standings:

  1. Atlanta Hawks: 45-31
  2. Miami Heat: 43-31
  3. CHARLOTTE HORNETS: 43-31; Tied for 2nd in division; Trails ATL by 1 game for division lead
  4. Washington Wizards: 36-39
  5. Orlando Magic: 32-43; Eliminated from playoff contention

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