Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Charlotte Hornets Pick & Prediction MARCH 25th 2024


Two teams that couldn’t have had much more disappointing results in their most recent games will have a chance to make things right Monday night in Cleveland.

The Charlotte Hornets will arrive to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (43-28), who are coming off Sunday night’s 121-84 road loss to the Miami Heat. Cleveland trailed by 45 points in the fourth quarter en route to its third straight loss and fourth in five games.

“We’re worn (out),” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of the team’s condition. “It’s on us all to figure it out. There’s no excuses. It doesn’t get any easier.”

Well, actually it might — the Hornets are up next for the first matchup of the season.

Charlotte (17-53) has played only one game in a five-day span, falling 132-91 on Saturday night at Atlanta.

That performance drew a stern response from Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who usually offers an encouraging message even in a season full of defeats.

“As soon as we started subbing, our intensity went downhill, and we never really got it back,” Clifford said. “That was as poor an effort … just for a team that’s played hard all year, we just didn’t try very hard. We’re not going to be able to do that.”

That might have contributed to the Hawks draining 20 shots from 3-point range.

Hornets starting forward Miles Bridges drew about the only praise from Clifford. He made 11 of 19 shots from the field on the way to 27 points.

“I thought Miles was very good,” Clifford said. “In terms of effort, it ended there.”

Cleveland might not have had one player to single out on the positive side. The team’s leading scorer Sunday was Evan Mobley with 15 points, making him the only Cavalier to reach double figures.

The Cavaliers have only their third three-game losing streak of the season. The others came in October and December, so it has been quite some time.

Charlotte has lost four in a row, including the first three contests of its four-game road trip.

While opponents might be jockeying for playoff positioning, the Hornets have to uncover other incentives.

“That’s what we’ve been good at all year is the intensity part, and we have to fix that,” Clifford said.

For the Cavaliers, the weekend mess-up might not be a long-term problem.

“It was uncharacteristic,” Bickerstaff said. “We know how hard these guys play, how willing they are to compete. The best thing about it is you have tomorrow. We had a bad night. We’ll figure it out and be better (Monday).”

Cleveland starters generally were pulled by the end of the third quarter. That might keep them as fresh as possible.

“We’ve asked these guys to do so much, asked them to carry the burden of everybody having to do more because of all the injuries and things we’re going through,” Bickerstaff said. “I think it just showed and caught up to us.”

The Hornets are 1-8 in their last nine road games.

Monday night’s game will mark the beginning of a back-to-back set between the teams, with the rematch set for Wednesday night in Charlotte. They’ll also clash in next month’s regular-season finale.

–Field Level Media

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