Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; The Charlotte Bobcats unveil their new branding logo as the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014 season at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets: Five Must-Watch Games in 2014-15

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The NBA released the 2014-15 schedule Wednesday evening, moving us one step closer to the league’s October 28 season tip-off. The buzz is back in Charlotte, and expectations are high for the newly named Charlotte Hornets. With Lance Stephenson in Charlotte, and rookies Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston ready to make their mark on the league, there is no shortage of compelling reasons to follow the Hornets this season. You can find the full schedule here.

Here are five must-watch games for all Hornets fans:

Honorable Mentions:

Charlotte at Indiana (November 19) – Lance returns to his old team. This game would have made the cut if Paul George hadn’t suffered his gruesome leg injury.

Charlotte vs. L.A. Clippers (November 24) – The Clippers are among the most exciting teams in the league, and the Bobcats beat the Clippers last season in Charlotte.

Charlotte vs. Atlanta (November 7) – The Hawks have had the Hornets’ number the past few seasons. Winning this game would make an early statement against a division rival.

Charlotte vs. Utah (December 20) – The Bobcats somehow lost both games against the Jazz last season, and their personnel have been intertwined for the past few years. Hopefully the Hornets can regain the upper-hand in this series.

5. Charlotte vs. Golden State – Friday, November 28

The Hornets’ defense going up against the Splash Brothers. Charlotte swept the season series against the Warriors last season, so the Warriors should be ready for this contest. Throw in Steph Curry’s connection to Charlotte, and Dell Curry’s connection to his son, this game means a little more for both sides. One other point of interest is that both these teams are trying to break into the upper-echelon of their respective conferences. This game should be an interesting barometer of the strength of the West vs. East. (These teams first meet in the Bay Area on Saturday, November 15).

4. Charlotte vs. Washington – Monday, February 2 and Thursday, February 5 

Apr 9, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) defends in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Bobcats won 94-88 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte won the season series 3-1 last season, though the Wizards finished higher in the standings. Both these teams are trying to finish in the top four in the East to get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Southeast division is up for grabs after LeBron’s departure to Cleveland, and both Charlotte and Washington are aiming to be the new kings of the division. This game is full of intriguing positional match-ups: Kemba Walker vs. John Wall, Lance vs. Bradley Beal, Big Al vs. Marcin Gortat. The Wiz vs. Buzz may be the next big Eastern Conference rivalry. These teams do not meet until early February, but face off in back-to-back games.

3. Charlotte vs. Miami – Wednesday, November 5

March 9, 2010 was the last time the Miami Heat lost a basketball game to a Charlotte professional basketball team. That is 20 straight Charlotte losses including last season’s sweep out of the playoffs. To add insult to injury, team favorite Josh McRoberts left Charlotte for Miami this offseason. Yes, the Hornets will beat the Heat at some point in the future, but with new jerseys, a new name, and new players, there is no better time to end the streak than the first meeting of the season. Oh, and in case you forgot, Dwyane Wade kicked Ramon Sessions in the groin two seasons ago.

2. Charlotte at Cleveland – Monday, December 15

To be the best, you have to beat the best, right? The King is back in Cleveland, and the Eastern Conference has a new favorite. One major reason Charlotte hasn’t beaten Miami in four years is LeBron James, but Charlotte hasn’t had Lance Stephenson in the last four years either. If we learned one thing in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, it is that Lance is not afraid of LeBron. If we learned two things, it’s that LeBron does not really care about Lance at all. Lance brings attitude and toughness, two things Charlotte needs in order to advance in the playoffs. Here’s hoping the Hornets rise to the occasion on December 15.

1. Charlotte vs. Milwaukee – Wednesday, October 29

Opening Night. The Buzz is Back. The Hive is Alive. Get Ready, Hornets fans. It all beings on October 29.

Which games are you most excited about? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!

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