Hornets Beginning Last Regular Season Road Trip in New York

by Sam Perley
  • Charlotte Hornets (33-37) at New York Knicks (39-31)
  • Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 1 PM EST (Madison Square Garden)
  • Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM
  • Last time out: Knicks won, 109-97 on April 20, 2021 in New York, NY

Eighth-Seeded Charlotte Closing Schedule with Crucial All-Road Back-to-Back

Coming off a tough 1-4 homestand, the Hornets will now head north for an all-road, double matinee back-to-back against New York and Washington this weekend. Charlotte is currently tied with Indiana for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Wizards lurking just a half game back if they managed to beat Cleveland at home on Friday night (game-and-a-half back if not). A victory against one of the league’s most surprising teams this season in the Knicks would be a huge step in the right direction for the Hornets in securing that vastly-more coveted eighth seed in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Knicks Also Still Looking to Improve Postseason Positioning

Like the Hornets, New York is jockeying for playoff seeding as well and currently sits tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with Miami, although does not hold the tiebreaker against the Heat after getting swept in the season series. The Knicks ripped off a 12-1 stretch from April 9 – May 3 before coming back to earth following a 4-3 all-West road trip that included losses to the Nuggets, Suns and LeBron James-less Lakers. New York certainly has its eyes set on gaining some momentum today and perhaps avoiding an opening-round series with top-3 seeded Philadelphia, Brooklyn or Milwaukee.

Hornets Need to Produce Early, Sustained Offense in Today’s Game

Charlotte actually led the Knicks, 66-60, at the break in their most recent meeting back on April 20 after shooting 57% and 13-of-19 from distance across the opening two quarters. New York’s defensive intensity and physicality picked up immediately soon after though, holding the Hornets to a season-low 31 second-half points (3-of-20 from three) in what ended with a 12-point loss for the visitors. Having produced low-scoring fourth quarters against the Clippers (13) and Pelicans (14) earlier this week, Charlotte has to find creative ways to generate closing offense in today’s contest.

Preview Quote

“Obviously, no one thought we were going to put ourselves in this position because we’ve had a lot of guys hurt and a lot of guys out. It’s not an excuse – the whole league is dealing with it. We earned it. Now we have to go and make sure we make it to the playoffs. I think everybody is in the right mindset. It feels good to be in this position, just looking back at last year. I think we are all looking forward to it and it will be fun.” – Bismack Biyombo

Final Thoughts

The Hornets, Pacers and Wizards all find themselves in a neck-and-neck battle right now for the eighth seed, which would allow the claimer to need just one win in two potential play-in outings to ultimately secure an NBA Playoff berth. Charlotte owns the tiebreaker against both squads and picking up a win today would be a massive development with the regular season finale looming in Washington on Sunday afternoon.

Additional Notes

C Mitchell Robinson (right foot surgery) and G Derrick Rose (left ankle sprain) did not play in New York’s home win over San Antonio on Thursday night… New York is 12-4 at home since the All-Star Break (11-7 prior to the All-Star Break)… Charlotte is 2-5 at Madison Square Garden since the start of the 2016-17 NBA campaign… The Hornets have also not lost consecutive games to the Knicks in the same season since 2012-13.

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