Charlotte Hornets travel to Miami for pivotal match-up with the Heat

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets are still in the mix for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Their next contest will prove to be one of the most important games of the season.

We’re less than a month away from the end of the NBA season and surprisingly, your Charlotte Hornets (31-37) are still in the playoff conversation. There is little room for error for Charlotte, however, and with several games against teams with much better records, this next game is quite important.

That game is against the Miami Heat (32-36) in Miami and will have a massive impact on playoff positioning. A Hornets win would potentially move them closer to the 8th spot in the East. A win would also mean the Hornets would win the season series against Miami for the first time in nine seasons.

That should give the team extra motivation for this one.

Charlotte’s last game was a 116-110 road win over the Washington Wizards. They are 10th in the Eastern Conference. Miami’s last outing was a 98-113 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. They are in the 8th spot in the East. This is the final game of the season against the Heat.

Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat
1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, March 17th, 2019
American Airlines Arena
Fox Sports Southeast


Injury Report:


Cody Zeller – Knee (Doubtful)


Justise Winslow – Thigh (Questionable)

Dwayne Wade – Hip (Questionable)

Things to watch for:

This will be the final time the Hornets square off against Dwayne Wade, if he plays, that is. I’m sure the Hornets players will bid him a fond farewell before the game.

If Cody can’t go in this one, expect to see Bismack Biyombo or Willy Hernangomez get the start. Frank Kaminsky should see more minutes as well. In fact, Frank was the leading scorer in the last game against the Heat. Sadly, that was in a losing effort.

Keys to the game:

Take care of the ball. The usually diligent Hornets had 21 turnovers in the last game against Miami. For a team that only coughs up the ball 13 times a game, good for second fewest in the NBA, that cannot happen.

An interesting, but rather minor, statistic is that Charlotte allows the most blocks per game in the league, allowing just over 6 swats a contest.

That’s not the biggest deal in the world, but that does mean that they’re leaving points on the table. Going against a prolific shot blocking team like the Heat, who rank 6th in the NBA in blocks per game, could be a bit of a headache when trying to get to the rim.

As I mentioned before, though, blocks aren’t that important of a metric, as it doesn’t necessarily correlate to how successful a team can be.

Related Story. Hornets buzz by Wizards for a win. light

There are still plenty of games left, but this one feels like a make or break type of situation. If the Hornets can pull this one off, it would really help them out. We’ll see if they can do just that Sunday afternoon in South Beach.