Fatigued expressions on their face said it all.
After three games in four nights, the latter two resulting in defeats, the Charlotte Hornets are eager for a rarity in their 72-game season: two full days in between suiting up again. It is a welcomed break for the Hornets, who appear a little bleary-eyed as they prepare to embark on the final stretch of the regular season.
"Looking forward to it for sure," Devonte' Graham said after their 120-111 loss to Boston on Wednesday night. "Just the rest, just reset and get our minds right and come back out ready to play Saturday."
Terry Rozier, who had a 4-for-18 outing against Boston, agreed.
"Yeah, definitely," Rozier said. "Physically, mentally it’s a good man. Last two games, I didn't like the way I played. I wish I could get out here and play tomorrow. But it’s going to be good for my mind and body to get back on track."
Sitting in eighth place with 10 games remaining heading into Thursday's action, and having lost eight of their last 11, the Hornets are 2 1/2 games behind Miami a half-game ahead of Indiana. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over both. If the playoffs began Thursday, they would meet the Heat in the play-in tournament with the winner earning the seventh seed and a first-round matchup with the second-seeded team.
They could be staring at a significant stretch of games upcoming.
So given everything they've dealt with up until this point on their seasonal calendar, navigating a numbing amount of injuries along the journey, having some down time before digging into the teeth of their remaining games should be extremely beneficial for the Hornets.
"It's great for us," coach James Borrego said. "But then we go right back into a back-to-back. But we'll use this to our advantage, try to get healthy mentally, physically and take a look at a few guys over the next few days and be ready to go on Saturday night."
LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk are among the players the Hornets will closely examine in their time leading into Saturday's matchup with Detroit. Ball worked out prior to Charlotte's loss to the Celtics and Borrego said earlier in the week the hope was to see if Ball and/or Monk could give it a go this weekend.
Mostly, their availability depends on how they respond to live practice. That's the first and main determinant to gauge the readiness.
Getting both back would be a huge boost, but it surely isn't a lock in a season unlike any other in which it's been difficult to escape more than just a few bumps and bruises thanks to the tightly-packed schedule.
"Definitely this year I know for everybody for a fact, around the league, it’s just more wear and tear on your body," Graham said. "Just those things in between, too — rest and cold tub, getting extra treatment — all of that helps. And we aren’t able to get that because we are playing every other day. Or you’re playing back-to-backs, you've got to travel. So it’s a lot less rest (for) your body."
And that is how it will continue to be until their season is over.
"I’d like to rest all the guys to be honest," Borrego said. "The reality is this is the schedule. This is the NBA. We’ve rested Terry one time and as a competitor he wants to play. This is what we are paid to do and I’ll do my best. I’ve tried to manage their bodies, their minds throughout the season. Now we need everybody. We’ve got the final 10 here and we need every one of them.
"So the good part is the schedule breaks for us to have two days off here. Get Terry some rest, Devonte’ some rest, our entire group some rest, take a look at Melo, take a look at Monk and make a call on Thursday, Friday and Saturday."
Quotable: "I don't even remember getting two blocks to be honest. I don't even remember blocking nobody's shot." -- Devonte' Graham on his pair of credited swats
Noteworthy: After falling out of the rotation and not playing in the previous three games, Cody Zeller posted 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting and had four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
Up next: vs. Detroit on Saturday