The Hornets are heading home from their last multiple-game road trip of the regular season in position to clinch a playoff berth before they have to play another road game.
Though they ended the trip with a 102-84 loss to the Lakers on Sunday, the Hornets accomplished a lot on the three-game trip by starting with victories against the Jazz and the Suns.
The Hornets (42-32) are in seventh place in the West as they prepare to begin a five-game homestand. They have a 3-1/2-game lead over ninth-place Houston and could clinch one of the eight playoff spots if they are successful at home.
The homestand begins with games against the team a half-game ahead of them -- the Trail Blazers (on Wednesday) -- and the team a game behind them -- the Grizzlies (on Friday). They also play the Pacers (April 3), the Rockets (April 6), and the Suns (April 8).
"The good thing about our situation is that we have a string of home games," guard Jarrett Jack said. "If there's any way you can do it or write it up, you'd love to do it in front of your own crowd, take the travel element out of it, and finish up strong."
Though the numbers favor the Hornets as they try to secure a playoff berth, Coach Monty Williams acknowledged that a season-ending knee injury suffered by starting power forward David West in the first game of the road trip makes things more difficult.
"We just have to figure out ways to win games in tough circumstances," Williams said. "It's brought us closer together as a team, but it's tough. It's going to be a grind."
LAKERS 102, HORNETS 84: The Hornets couldn't slow down the Lakers' offense. New Orleans allowed Los Angeles to race to a 57-41 halftime lead and could never catch up. The Hornets got back into the game, pulling within 78-72 on Quincy Pondexter's jumper with 8:17 left in the game, but the Lakers responded with a 12-4 run to regain control.
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