Two in-form Eastern Conference sides in Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets will face off on Thursday. The Hornets are edging closer towards a playoff berth, while the Nets are the odds-on favorites to win the NBA Championship this year.
The Charlotte Hornets have won four out of their last five games and their only loss came against the Phoenix Suns in overtime. Gordon Hayward has blown hot and cold in recent games but Terry Rozier has been on a tear lately. The latter has averaged 24.8 points, 5.2 assists and 5.6 rebounds in the last five games.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets are on a three-game winning streak. James Harden has been the wrecker-in-chief for Steve Nash's unit but Kyrie Irving has also returned after taking a week off to deal with family matters. Irving has scored 27 and 31 points in the two matchups since.
The Charlotte Hornets were close winners in the previous matchup against the Brooklyn Nets that took place back in December. Hayward led the Hornets with 28 points, while Durant had 29 of his own.
Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets Injury Report
LaMelo Ball continues to remain sidelined for the Charlotte Hornets with a broken wrist. Although previously suspected to be out for the season, Ball could return in a month's time. He's set to be re-evaluated on April 20.
Backup shooting guard Malik Monk has missed the last two games with soreness in his right foot. Monk's not completely out of the woods, but he's still listed as probable for the matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets suffered another injury blow on Wednesday as James Harden hobbled off with right hamstring tightness. The Beard's status is still up in the air but he's is likely to miss the game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Kevin Durant continues to be absent with a hamstring injury as well. He's missed the last 19 games for the Brooklyn Nets and this number will only continue to grow. Landry Shamet has also been sidelined for the time being with an ankle issue. LaMarcus Aldridge hasn't featured for the Nets till now but he could make his debut on Thursday.
Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineups
Devonte' Graham continues to start as the point guard in the absence of LaMelo Ball. Terry Rozier has made the 2-guard role his own this season with some fantastic performances.
Gordon Hayward has struggled lately but he'll continue to feature at small forward. The same goes for sophomore PJ Washington, who has little competition for the power forward's spot. Bismack Biyombo will claim the rim-protector's role again and round out the starting five.
With James Harden likely to miss out, Kyrie Irving will assume the majority of the ball-handling duties. Bruce Brown may be moved up a slot to round out the backcourt. Joe Harris has been in fine form and he'll occupy the other wing spot in the lineup.
Blake Griffin may be promoted to the starting lineup due to injuries to other playe. DeAndre Jordan is likely to be phased out of the rotation over the next month, but he holds on to the center spot for now.
Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Devonte' Graham | Shooting Guard - Terry Rozier | Small Forward - Gordon Hayward | Power Forward - PJ Washington | Center - Bismack Biyombo
Point Guard - Kyrie Irving | Shooting Guard - Bruce Brown | Small Forward - Joe Harris | Power Forward - Blake Griffin | Center - DeAndre Jordan