Charlotte Hornets: 5 Must-Win Games in 2014-2015


Wow. What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been in the NFL. It seems every time we turn around there’s a new scandal developing, so let’s take a break from that and get back to our beloved Charlotte Hornets. We’re going to take an early look at 5 must-win games for the upcoming season.

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For the first time in years, the discussion is no longer “will we get to 20 wins or will we overachieve and reach 30?” No, ladies and gentlemen, we’re finally back in a position where each game will mean something more than lottery odds. And while it would be wonderful if the Charlotte Hornets finished first in the East by 20 games, I’m going to assume there will be some battling in the standings down the stretch. Not to discredit the importance of starting the year strong, but for this article I’m focusing on games in the latter stages of the season because they tend to stick out more as the stakes rise.

(Side note: these games are placed in the order in which they occur, not by level of importance.)

February 5 – vs. Washington Wizards

Last season, Charlotte and Washington finished only one game apart, with the Wizards notching 44 wins to the Hornets’ (then Bobcats) 43. Both of these teams made significant upgrades this past offseason, suggesting this series will be another close race. While every game between division rivals is a must-win, this one stands out on the schedule. This particular game comes on the latter half of a back-to-back with the Wizards (even though the games are 3 days apart), and it’s at home. The second of two straight games against a tough division team in your arena, that’s a game you have to win.

March 13 – vs. Chicago Bulls

Many members of the media predict the Bulls to come out of the regular season on top of the Eastern Conference standings. At the very least, they’re pretty much a consensus pick to finish first or second to the Cleveland Cavaliers. I, however, am not quite sold on that, as I believe the East is as evenly matched and wide open as it’s been in recent memory. Because of this, a heavier importance is placed on conference games toward the end of this season. This game comes at an important time for the Hornets, as it’s the last home game for almost 2 weeks. Following this game, Charlotte will play 4 straight away games against Western Conference teams, and wrap up the trip with an away game against the Bulls. Due to the traveling, that game in Chicago is going to be a tall order, making the previous game against the Bulls all the more important.

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  • March 27 – at Washington Wizards

    I know, I know, I already have a game against the Wizards on this list, but I can’t stress how important this series will be. Here’s my prediction: this series will end 3-1 and both teams will make the playoffs, but the winner of the series will start the postseason at home, while the loser will travel. There you go, you heard it here first and when it comes true, you can expect a reference to this article with a giant “I told you so.” Based on my prediction, I’m sure you can see why I have this game marked on the schedule. To finish the series 3-1, the Hornets will need to steal a game in the nation’s capitol, and this is the game it has to be.

    April 7 – at Miami Heat

    Once you get into April of the NBA season, the temperature gets turned up for every team in the playoff hunt. When you play a team in your conference, a win basically counts twice as much, since it’s a win for you and a loss for them (groundbreaking, I know). But you can’t ignore how important it is to win while a team you’re jockeying with in the standings loses at this point in the year. When LeBron took his talents to South Beach, the Bobcats had just about 0 success against the Heat, and you could almost mark those 4 games as 4 losses. Luckily, times have changed, with a revamped team in the Queen City and LeBron James moving up north. Unlike the last few seasons, this game is a can-win and a must-win.

    April 13 – vs. Houston Rockets

    This game might qualify more as a “huge-win” than a “must-win,” but hear me out. The Houston Rockets will travel to Charlotte for the Hornets’ final regular-season home game, and the second to last game before the postseason. If the Rockets are as good as advertised, and the Hornets do, in fact, make the playoffs, a win here is huge. A victory against a top team of the brutal Western Conference could be a massive confidence boost for a young, talented team in the Charlotte Hornets. If there’s ever a time you want to have momentum, it’s heading into the playoffs. A team like the Hornets with confidence could really shake things up next summer.

    Agree? Disagree? Join in on the conversation in the comments section below!