Charlotte Hornets’ Final Game of the Season Has Many Question Marks

The Hornets play the Cavs in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.
Apr 12, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Tre Mann (23) returns the ball
Apr 12, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Tre Mann (23) returns the ball / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Injury Report:

Hornets: OUT: LaMelo Ball (ankle), Seth Curry (ankle), Cody Martin (ankle), Mark Williams (back) QUESTIONABLE: Davis Bertans (achilles), Miles Bridges (wrist), Brandon Miller (wrist), Nick Richards (plantar fascia), Grant Williams (ankle)

Cavaliers: OUT: Sam Merrill (neck), Caris LeVert (knee), Ty Jerome (ankle), Donovan Mitchell (knee), Dean Wade (knee) DOUBTFUL: Darius Garland (back)

Game Preview:

Here we are — the last game of the Charlotte Hornets' 2023-24 season, a Sunday afternoon matinee with the Cavaliers (48-33) in Cleveland. And with it, another lackluster Hornets (20-61) season is on the books. Do Hornets fans feel exhausted? Perhaps cautiously optimistic for the future?

Regardless, down to the last minute, question marks remain. Because for Sunday, the Hornets' rotation will likely be thinner than usual — Grant Williams, Miles Bridges, Brandon Miller, Nick Richards, and Davis Bertans are all marked questionable with various injuries. LaMelo Ball, Mark Williams, Cody Martin, and Seth Curry remain out. Alas, the beat goes on. There's always next year.

Charlotte has had no shot at the playoffs since March. Cleveland clinched their playoff berth with a 129-120 win over the sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers Friday night. 

But the Cavs will also be down some key players on Sunday. Donovan Mitchell is out with a knee injury, Darius Garland with a back issue, to name two. To wit, both Hornets head coach Steve Clifford — in his final game as Hornet ringleader — and Cavs HC J.B. Bickerstaff will have to get inventive regarding the bench.

In reflecting on the Hornets' season, it's evident that they've faced challenges far beyond what many anticipated. This season has been perplexingly worse than the previous one, where the Hornets finished with a 27-55 record. Despite the offseason acquisitions and preseason hopes, injuries and inconsistent performances have plagued the team, leaving fans frustrated and yearning for better days on the court.

The extended absences of Mark Williams and LaMelo Ball has undoubtedly taken its toll on the team's performance. Their presence on the court brings a level of skill and leadership that is sorely missed in their absence. As the season comes to a close, there's a collective hope among fans that a healthy roster next season will lead to a more promising outcome.

As the Hornets and Cavaliers prepare to face off in their final game of the season, it serves as a reminder of the importance of health and resilience in professional sports. Despite the disappointments of this season, there's optimism for the future, fueled by the potential return of key players and the lessons learned from the challenges faced.

The game will air at 1:00 PM ET on Bally Sports Southeast.


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Philip Trapp

PHILIP TRAPP

Philip Trapp is a writer, editor, content creator and social media manager known for his contributions to various sports and entertainment publications and websites. He is currently Staff Writer at Loudwire, a rock and metal music site.