Charlotte Hornets: Quick Look at the Playoff Picture


The Charlotte Hornets have gone on to win their last two games without Al Jefferson. The victories against the Bulls and Pistons revealed that the Hornets can take advantage of a more open concept offense. The win against the Pistons showed the Hornets could win the rebounding battle even when the other team featured Andre Drummond down low.

The Hornets have now played twenty games and find themselves at 12-8 in the Eastern Conference. This is both impressive and not impressive at the same time. Let’s look at the Eastern Conference to see what I mean.

Eastern Conference Standings as of 12/8/15

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-7)
2. Miami Heat (12-7) 1 GB
3. Chicago Bulls (11-7) 1.5 GB
4. Indiana Pacers (12-8) 1.5 GB
5. Charlotte Hornets (12-8) 1.5 GB
6. Atlanta Hawks (13-9) 1.5 GB
7. Toronto Raptors (13-9) 1.5 GB
8. Boston Celtics (12-9) 2 GB
9. Orlando Magic (11-9) 2.5 GB
10. Detroit Pistons (12-10) 2.5 GB

So that the Hornets have gotten to (12-8) is impressive because they are still above .500 without Big Al. It is also impressive that the Hornets are positioned as the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference playoff. If the Hornets could replicate this twenty game block three more times, they would have 48 wins and more than enough to make the playoffs.

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However note that I said it that their (12-8) was also unimpressive. While the Hornets sit just a game and a half back of the conference leading Cavs, they have lots of company. They are tied with Bulls, Pacers, Hawks, and Raptors and could as easily be the seventh seed as much as the third. Or miss the playoffs completely if the Celtics, Magic, or Pistons have anything to say about it.

So the message of the first quarter of the season is to keep pushing through. The Hornets have to survive this stretch without Al in about the same shape they are in right now. Now if they could just get any production out of the small forward spot.

The Hornets play the Miami Heat tomorrow. That would be a good win to grab.