It’s official, playoff basketball is coming back to Charlotte. The Charlotte Hornets officially punched its ticket to the 2016 NBA Playoffs tonight thanks to the Detroit Pistons win over the Bulls in Chicago. Charlotte will make just it’s third playoff appearance in the modern era of Charlotte NBA basketball(2004-present), and it marks their second playoff appearance in the last three seasons, with their previous appearance coming in 2014. In addition, the Hornets will mark their 10th playoff appearance in Charlotte franchise history, dating back to 1993.
For us, it is simply another chapter that we can write about in the 26-year history of the Hornets franchise in Charlotte, and if you lived here during the years of the original Hornets, you know that playoff basketball is always special and fun here in Charlotte, and it usually produces some of the most memorable moments, including of course, “The Shot Heard ‘Round The Carolinas” in our first-ever playoff appearance in 1993, when Alonzo Mourning’s game-winning jumper with 0.4 left on the clock clinched Charlotte’s first ever NBA Playoff series win, and sending the fans at the old Charlotte Coliseum, which has been demolished for almost a decade, into a frenzy on that May night in 1993 to officially put Charlotte on the map as a basketball hotbed.
Of course last season, we were in the hunt for a playoff spot, but in the end, it was an epic collapse for the Hornets, a collapse that was very painful to watch back in the 2014-15 campaign, which was our first under the “Hornets” name after spending 10 seasons as the Bobcats. Fast forward to this season and where we’re at now. The collapse this team suffered last season is behind us, and we knew that if you wanted to build a successful team, you have to shoot early and shoot often, and our shooting game has been lights out this season, and another key element to it is that this team wants to win, win, and win. Winning is indeed the most important part of any sports team, and what Steve Clifford has done this season is phenomenal in just his third season with Charlotte, guiding them to 44 wins so far, and sitting in first place atop the Southeast Division. He wanted this team to be a team that can shoot well, defend the ball, and play hard for 48 minutes each and every single night, while giving the fans something to cheer about, and talk about around this city, after the success of what the Carolina Panthers did this past season, reaching the Super Bowl, in which they ultimately lost to the Denver Broncos.
Charlotte has been ready for a return to postseason basketball since 2014, when the then-Bobcats lost to Miami in 4 games, and with the Hornets punching their ticket to the NBA Playoffs, fans in “Buzz City” know that this team is hungry to make a deep run come playoff time, and with less than 7 regular season games remaining, it is indeed time for both, the Hornets and their fans to sit back, buckle up, and hold on tight for what may be one of the most memorable and exciting playoff runs that the franchise has seen in recent memory.