Wednesday, March 29, 2023

NBA Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers (42-27) at Charlotte Hornets (22-47)

Even though point guard LaMelo Ball will miss the remainder of the season due to an ankle injury, the Charlotte Hornets are a team that relies heavily on guards.

When the teams meet on Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Cleveland Cavaliers are bound to try to take advantage of the fact that they are a little thin in the middle. After all, Cleveland sometimes makes a living by being strong in the lane and riding its defense.

In Saturday night’s 119-111 defeat to the Utah Jazz, the Hornets’ interior defense let them down in the first game of a five-game homestand.

On the same court, the Hornets and Cavaliers will also play on Tuesday night. Cleveland is in a strange phase of the season because it played Miami on Wednesday and Friday nights in consecutive games.

In the rematch on Friday, Cleveland lost 119-115 to end a three-game winning streak in Miami.

The Cavaliers want to stay on track for the postseason, so these games in Charlotte will be crucial. While the Hornets are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention, they begin play on Sunday fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Certainly, strengthening defensively will be a part of the challenge from Charlotte’s perspective.

Donovan Mitchell, a Cleveland guard, has scored 40 points in three of the team’s last five games.

According to Bickerstaff, the Cavaliers have benefited greatly from lineup flexibility.

Darius Garland of Cleveland was sidelined with a quad injury for Friday night’s game, and his status for Sunday may be uncertain. On the injury report, he is listed as questionable. Caris LeVert moved into the beginning setup and scored 16 focuses.

Kelly Oubre Jr., who has moved once again into the Charlotte beginning setup, has driven the Hornets in scoring in six back to back games. He had 24 focuses against the Jazz.

In March, the Hornets are 2-4. After winning on the road against the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons, they lost on Saturday night.

The Cavs and Hornets will meet again April 9 in the standard season finale at Cleveland.

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