Time is rapidly running out on the Charlotte Hornets.
Despite a victory Wednesday in Toronto, the Hornets have essentially no margin for error – and must rely on help from other teams – if they are to slip into the NBA playoffs this season.
The Hornets (34-41) made progress Wednesday, moving into a tie for 10th in the Eastern Conference with Detroit, though the Pistons moved back up a half game Thursday. Charlotte still has just seven games remaining to make up a three-game deficit it faces between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, who are tied for seventh.
If the Hornets can somehow vault past the Bulls and Pistons, they would at least hold tiebreaker advantages over Miami and, for now, Indiana if they were needed. Tying for eighth with either Chicago or Detroit would do the Hornets no good, however, since they already lose out on tiebreakers with either of them.
Complicating matters for the Hornets is that they only have one game left with any of the other four teams – at home against Miami on April 5.
Also, six of the Hornets’ seven final opponents would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Friday’s opponent, the visiting Denver Nuggets, are just one game out of eighth place in the Western Conference.
“We don’t have much room for error, but we’re still here,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said. “We’re still in it. We’ve just got to take care of our own business and hopefully we can get a little bit of help from some of those other teams.”
Hornets (not clinched)
Note: Through Thursday’s games