The Charlotte Hornets have had extra time to prepare for their next game, and putting things in order has been the primary focus.
So maybe there will be a refreshed energy and a few new wrinkles when the Hornets host the Orlando Magic on Monday in Charlotte, N.C.
«(The extra time) gets them recovery and get their bodies right,» Hornets coach James Borrego said. «We’ve played the most games in the NBA, so that has been a challenge for our group. When you’re playing every other day, you’re very limited what you can do in practice.»
The Hornets completed a winless four-game road trip Wednesday night in Denver, so they’ve had time to ponder what’s needed to get on track. They’ve lost six straight games overall.
«We’re giving ourselves a shot most nights,» Borrego said. «Proud of our guys for their growth. For us to close out a game, we’ve got to be better. It really starts at the beginning of the game.»
This is the sixth stop on Orlando’s road trip as the Magic are on the way back from the West Coast, where they went 2-3. It was capped by Saturday night’s 109-95 loss against Golden State.
«The Charlotte game is going to be difficult because of the travel, the schedule, which to me is ridiculous,» Magic coach Steve Clifford said of his team’s slate.
Meanwhile, Borrego said the benefits of practice time could help the Hornets move in the right direction.
«We had a long film session and we’re ready to get better on the court,» Charlotte forward Miles Bridges said.
This is Charlotte’s second stretch of four days off between games this season.
«I like playing every two days, but it gives us time to get better in practice,» Bridges said.
The practice sessions also have been heavy with film study.
«People are scouting us good now and we just need to come with counters and I think that’s what coaches are working on,» Bridges said.
The Hornets have been in a bunch of close games, but haven’t always liked the outcomes.
«There’s a fine line between winning and losing,» Borrego said. «But you have to keep putting yourself in position. Now it’s about executing down the stretch. You can’t just wait for somebody to make a big shot. Go make a play in another area that could impact a game.»
This is Charlotte’s last game before Friday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks in Paris.
The Magic had what Clifford described as a disturbing game in terms of effort at Golden State, so that’s something that he’ll look to get straightened out.
«One of the steps we have to take we have to have expectations to understand what’s ahead,» Clifford said. «We’re in a brutal stretch here.»
The Magic, who are on their longest road trip of the season, scored 95 or fewer points in three of the past five games. Orlando is 3-7 in its past 10 road games.
This is the first meeting of the season between Orlando and Charlotte. Clifford is a former Hornets coach.
–Field Level Media