Introducing Liberty Ballers’ newest feature: The Other Side. Clever, I know. In “The Other Side”, I’ll be chatting with contributors from the SBNation site corresponding with the Sixers’ opponent for each game. In instances where the Sixers play a team twice in one week, there likely won’t be a feature. Feel free to comment questions that you’d like to have answered in future editions.
The Sixers take on the Charlotte Hornets tonight at Wells Fargo Center. At The Hive does tremendous work covering the Hornets, and Managing Editor Joshua Priemski (@HoopPlusTheHarm) was kind enough to chat with me and offer his insight about tonight’s Sixers/Hornets matchup.
Kevin F. Love: What are the Hornets playing for at this point of the season?
Joshua Priemski: The Hornets, from what I can surmise, still have their eyes fixed on sneaking into the playoffs. They’re on the outside looking in but to their credit have won five of their last six games and show no signs of slowing down. Steve Clifford said just before the All-Star Break that the next 10 games or so would determine how the Hornets close out their season. They’ve put in a good showing so far but frankly that 6-10 range in the Eastern Conference is feisty. We’ll see how it plays out.
KFL: How have the Hornets played lately?
JP: Kinda touched on it with the previous question. They’ve been awesome lately, though not without flaws. They’re beating opponents with uncharacteristically good offense while trotting out a sub-par defense, which is kind of strange because historically it’s been the other way around. Their loss to the Celtics a couple of days ago might’ve slowed their momentum somewhat, and I’m a bit worried about their upcoming schedule. There’s you guys, the Raptors, the Wizards—really good teams. The Hornets appear to be a better team but this next stretch will test them.
KFL: What do the Hornets need to do to win this game?
JP: Kemba Walker’s been outstanding all year but he’s not quite in that tier of players that can carry a team on his own. What the Hornets need to win is a few things—an engaged Dwight Howard, an aggressive Nicolas Batum, and one of Jeremy Lamb or Frank Kaminsky to get hot from deep to keep the bench unit afloat. We’ve had all of that lately and it’s resulted in some stunning wins.
KFL: How do the Sixers beat the Hornets in this game?
JP: I think the Sixers’ best strategy tonight is to simply outpace the Hornets. Dwight and Marvin are older now and MCW can be unbelievably sloppy in fast-paced games. Run the floor, crash the boards. You guys have the youth for it.
KFL: Which Hornets player should Sixers fans keep an eye on? Any possible X-Factor?
JP: Keep an eye on Kaminsky and Lamb. If they’re not on, the Hornets won’t win. Those two shot 52.2 percent and 45.5 percent respectively from deep over the Hornets’ last six games and subsequently led the team in plus-minus over that stretch, too.
KFL: Gimme a prediction.
JP: We handedly beat the Pistons and Wizards recently but being so thoroughly disposed of by the Celtics was a bit of an eye-opener. I can’t lie, I’m pretty nervous about this game. You guys are on quite the hot streak of your own.
KFL: Last thing: while most of our readers are Sixers fans, many of them can’t get enough NBA in general. Suggested piece of reading from you guys over at At The Hive?
JP throwing an MCW piece out here is just, well, perfect. Thanks, Josh!