Charlotte remains one game back but tied in the loss column with Indiana for the final playoff spot in the East, and with that the honor of getting crushed in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.
Stephen Jackson, Charlotte’s leading scorer, will miss Friday’s game against Orlando due to a hamstring that continues to linger, according to a tweet from Mike Cranston of the Associated Press. Jackson played only a half against Cleveland Wednesday before aggravating the injury (he was 1-for-4 shooting in that first half).
Tyrus Thomas — and his 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds a game off the bench — also will be out Friday. He missed the Cleveland game entirely.
Jackson may be the bigger issue. When he is off the court, the Bobcats offense drops 4 points per 100 possessions because he is one of the few guys on the team able to create his own shot. And the Bobcats are 26th in the league in offensive efficiency with him, so they don’t have points to spare.
But Jackson has not been very efficient at it this season, shooting just 41.1 percent overall (and 36.8 percent in the last 10 games), with a true shooting percentage of 52 percent (that number is right about the league average and includes his free throws and threes in the mix).
Charlotte needs a healthy Jackson and Thomas because of their final eight games, two are against Orlando, one is against Miami and they close with Atlanta. Even if they won the other four games, a 4-4 record down the stretch may not be enough to pass Indiana (which has just six games left, three against playoff teams).