The Charlotte Hornets will meet another team outside the playoff mix when the Orlando Magic pay a visit Friday night.
The Hornets hope they put together a better performance than the last time they played a team on the outside looking in.
“We’ve just got to keep pushing, no excuses,” Hornets coach James Borrego said.
The eighth-place Hornets (32-34) are coming off a puzzling performance in their 120-99 home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. They have more work to do to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Charlotte committed 15 turnovers, and even 16-for-35 shooting on 3-pointers wasn’t enough to overcome them.
The Magic (21-45) have been eliminated from playoff contention. Orlando is 3-8 across its past 11 games with six games remaining.
The Magic had a practice day Thursday that coach Steve Clifford said he hopes was a good chance to work out some kinks.
“There are some of the things at this level, whether guys have been together or not, that we should be able to do better than we are without a ton of practice time,” Clifford said.
The Hornets are playing on back-to-back nights, but with the result of the Chicago game it puts additional emphasis on taking care of business against Orlando.
“I don’t want to run these guys into the ground,” Borrego said.
The Hornets’ situation is further complicated by the status of forward Miles Bridges, who is out of action because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
With that development, Charlotte moved center Bismack Biyombo into the starting lineup, though that shift likely was based on matchups and Borrego could go with another set-up for the Orlando game. Biyombo provide two points and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
It also was a dismal outing for rookie sensation LaMelo Ball, who shot 1 for 10 from the field for four points, though he supplied nine assists.
And Charlotte didn’t have guard Devonte’ Graham again because of knee discomfort.
The good news for the Hornets is that Malik Monk poured in 20 points, which might be a sign that he’s returning to form. He made 6 of 11 attempts from 3-point range. Also on the plus side, P.J. Washington returned after missing a game because of personal reasons.
Rebounding on the defensive end was among the problem areas for the Hornets, who often have a significant size disadvantage.
“We’ve got to clean that up,” Borrego said.
Orlando is also coming off a lopsided loss with Wednesday night’s 132-96 pounding from the Boston Celtics.
Clifford said the transition defense wasn’t up to his standards. The Magic’s offense had some glitches as well.
“We’re just inconsistent with the times the ball hits the paint,” Clifford said.
Orlando will be without forward Wendell Carter Jr., who wasn’t slated to be on the trip to Charlotte as he deals with an injured left eye, Clifford said. Carter averages 11.5 points per game.
According to reports out of Orlando, the Magic are set to add Admiral Schofield to the roster. Schofield recently played for Charlotte’s G League team in the Orlando bubble.
–Field Level Media