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April 04, 2015

Charlotte Hornets update on injuries to Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

            The Charlotte Hornets aren’t ready to rule center Al Jefferson out for the season just yet.

            Coach Steve Clifford raised the possibility Friday in Indianapolis that Jefferson’s on-going right knee soreness could scratch him from the team’s remaining seven games. While Jefferson will be out against the Philadelphia 76ers, Clifford said pre-game Saturday that the franchise will keep an open mind to playing Jefferson at least until the Hornets are eliminated from the playoff race.

            In Jefferson’s absence tonight Clifford will start Bismack Biyombo at center and use Jason Maxiell as Biyombo’s backup. With Cody Zeller still out at power forward, Marvin Williams will again start with rookie Noah Vonleh as his backup.

            As to the Hornets’ other significant injury, Clifford said small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s left ankle is still quite swollen. Clifford had previously said the earliest Kidd-Gilchrist might play would be Tuesday in Miami. But based on the ongoing swelling, it’s hard to picture Kidd-Gilchrist playing against the Heat or at home Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors.

            The Hornets started Saturday in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and are running out of games to make up ground on eighth place. Sixers coach Brett Brown, a good friend of Clifford’s, put the Hornets’ situation this way: “I think they’re desperate. Their hour glass is running out.”

Posted by Observer Sports on April 4, 2015 at 05:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (112)

Big Al's knee means Charlotte Hornets' season is over

Three takeaways from the Hornets’ soul-sucking loss to the Indiana Pacers:

            It’s over: Sadly that has slightly less to do with the record than the fact that Al Jefferson might be done for the season. No way they recover from that:

            Free Vonleh: Go at it. Play him 40 minutes a night. It doesn’t much matter now in a lost season.

            Opprtunity: I keep hearing what a special talent P.J. Hairston is: He shot 0-of-5 on a night when it was perfect for him to get them in the game.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 4, 2015 at 02:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (30)

April 01, 2015

Hornets coach Steve Clifford owns decision to sign Lance Stephenson

Three takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets’ 102-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons:

            Clifford owns decision to sign Stephenson: Coach Steve Clifford had said before he was as strong an advocate as any Hornets decision-maker for signing Lance Stephenson last July.

            Wednesday he made sure there was no misconception.

            “Lance is here because of me. I’m the one that wanted Lance,” Clifford said after not playing him for the second consecutive game. “It’s simply that I can’t find a group that plays well when he’s out there.”

            Jefferson’s knee: For the third time in about nine days Hornets center Al Jefferson had fluid drained from his right knee in order to play. Jefferson was moving poorly enough at morning shootaround that Clifford considered not playing him Wednesday. Clifford said it would take weeks of rest for Jefferson to get any real relief from his knee injury.

            A strong first quarter: The Hornets have been plagued of late by slow starts to games. They led by eight entering the second quarter and never trailed Wednesday. Point guard Kemba Walker set the agenda with 17 first-half points. Strangely enough he never scored in the second half.


Charlotte Hornets' Lance Stephenson celebrates a teammate's 3-point basket against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. The Hornets won 102-78. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Posted by Observer Sports on April 1, 2015 at 11:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)