When the Cleveland Cavaliers go up against the Charlotte Hornets at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Thursday, March 3, they’ll likely be gunning for a win with less than full capacity.
Set to miss Cleveland’s Thursday night skirmish at Detroit is All-Star guard Darius Garland – and with the reason being a sticky back issue that has been slowing him down for weeks on end, chances are he might be out also for a few games more.
Another hiccup for the Cavaliers right now is newly acquired guard Caris LeVert, who remains sidelined with a sprained right ankle. While LeVert might be fit and ready to go by March 3, chances are Garland might not be.
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Decision-Time For The Cavs
For the Cavs, the season so far has been a story of injuries and exits. Currently fourth in the Eastern Conference at 35-23, they’re nowhere near where they would have liked to be by this point.
For Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff, a potentially far-reaching decision right now is whether to include LeVert in his starting lineup for upcoming games. The biggest challenge seems to be that of figuring out how to best fit the 6-foot-six scoring powerhouse into Cleveland’s offensive strategies.
But while the Cavs may or may not see either player return to the court anytime soon, they’re not without their options. A big boost right now is the likely return of Lauri Markkanen as soon as their game against the Pistons. Markkanen has had to sit out all of 11 games with a sprained ankle injured on Jan. 22.
Hornets Hoping For A Miracle
For the Charlotte Hornets, entering the All-Star break had happened with a 29-31 record after the franchise lost nine of its previous ten games.
Their only recent win came against the Pistons just a day after they acquired Montrezl Harrell in a trade deal from the Wizards.
The shocking thing about the Hornets is that only a couple of weeks ago, they were seen defeating the LA Lakers in incredible fashion on national television. But after they pushed their record to 28-22, they suddenly went cold on the action seemingly out of the blue.
For the Hornets, consistency is absolutely key if they’re to make a notable recover. Hornets forward Kelly Oubre Jr. agrees and said this week the plan is to build a better team culture while working on putting on a consistent and reliable performance.
Whether or not they’ll be able to pull this off in time for their meet with the high-flying Cavs remains up in the air.