The Hornets had been playing much better lately, and won five straight before dropping a close one on Wednesday against the Spurs.
The play of Kemba Walker has been the reason why.
Walker took home Western Conference Player of the Week honors, with an average of 30.3 points per game during that stretch. But he’ll be unavailable on Saturday when the Hornets face the Pacers.
From Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
No Al Jefferson and no Kemba Walker. No good for the Charlotte Hornets.
For the first time since center Jefferson signed with the then-Bobcats two summers ago, this franchise will play with neither Jefferson nor Walker available Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.
Jefferson has missed eight games with a groin strain; he hopes to return Wednesday against the Miami Heat. Walker will miss his first game this season due to soreness in his left knee.
Walker sat out practice Friday and did not participate in shootaround Saturday morning. In his absence Brian Roberts will get his first start this season.
The Hornets say that Brian Roberts will get the start at point guard, and both Gary Neal and Lance Stephenson will get some time there, as well.
Stephenson has been the subject of trade rumors, with his name most recently coming up in reports of discussions involving the Brooklyn Nets. Those talks are reportedly dead for now, perhaps because it’s unclear just how much he’ll be able to contribute this season.
After an underwhelming start, Stephenson missed 14 straight games due to a groin injury. He returned for the loss to the Spurs, but in what was his first game since Dec. 17, he managed just eight points and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench.