It is hard to determine if the Charlotte Hornets or Cleveland Cavaliers are in more desperate shape for as they prepare to meet Friday night.
The Hornets have won just one of their past 10 games and one of their star players will be out again.
Cleveland, beginning a four-game homestand, is mired in a five-game losing streak.
For Charlotte, point guard LaMelo Ball was in his first home game of the season Wednesday night as the Hornets were enduring another late-game collapse. He landed on a fan’s foot with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in the 125-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
He rolled the same ankle that forced him to miss the first 13 games of the season and has been ruled out of the Cavaliers game.
“At the end of the day, it’s part of the game,” P.J. Washington said of Charlotte’s injuries. “We all know at some point everybody is going to get back out there, and we can’t wait for it.”
Cleveland has issues that surfaced in a 113-98 road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. The Cavaliers’ skid has come after an eight-game winning streak.
“We’re not playing winning basketball right now, and it’s that simple,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.
The game against Charlotte will be just the second home outing for the Cavaliers in more than two weeks. They will play four home games across six nights, but even a more welcoming setting won’t be an automatic solution for the Cavaliers.
“We have a formula in place that will allow us to be successful,” Bickerstaff said. “Holding each other to that is what we have to do. Right now, we are not.”
Bickerstaff has hinted at lineup changes or role adjustments.
“It’s my responsibility to search and find the guys who are most willing to play the way we need to play,” he said.
And Charlotte, again, is left without Ball, at least for now. He racked up 26 points Wednesday night before exiting with the injury.
“Right now, the problem is we’re losing games,” Washington said. “So we’ve got to figure it out and start getting some wins.”
Ball seemed to get the Hornets going in the right direction from an offensive standpoint. That alone wasn’t putting Charlotte back on track.
“Both sides of the ball, we couldn’t stop them,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We were always a step behind. (The Bucks are) the second-best offensive team in the league, and we couldn’t stop them.”
So facing the Cavaliers next could be a blessing for the Hornets. Cleveland was stuck with a season-low point total in the Milwaukee game — the first time the Cavaliers failed to reach 100 points this season. That also was the first time the Cavaliers suffered a loss by more than seven points this season.
Cleveland forward Kevin Love reached a notable mark by moving to third place on the Cavaliers franchise’s all-time list for defensive rebounds by snatching his 3,569th board. Love has been coming off the bench, averaging 21.9 minutes, 11.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in eight games this month.
The Cavaliers have additional woes with the announcement that Dylan Windler, who has yet to play this season because of a sprained right ankle, will be out at least another month. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection and was put in a walking cast.
–Field Level Media