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NBA Live Thread: Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets, 7:00 PM EST

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

From here on out, every game matters for the Brooklyn Nets. Especially - especially - Tuesday night’s game against the Hornets, in Charlotte.

The Nets are currently tied with the Hornets for 8th place in the East and both teams are looking to work their way out of the play-in games. The Nets need this game, period.

Coming in on a four-game losing streak, they need to start building some momentum ahead of the playoffs; or, they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in. Period, again.

WHO: Brooklyn Nets (32-33) at Charlotte Hornets (32-33)

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. EST

WHERE: YES (tv), WFAN-AM/FM (radio)

Game preview.

Player to watch: Lamelo Ball

The league is in great hands going forward. Ball got a well deserved honor and was named to his first All Star game this season. Ball is tenth in the Association in assists, averaging seven a night and he plays with a verve and joy that is contagious. He’s been taking more three pointers this season and is shooting a snazzy 37 percent from downtown. He’s trimmed down on the turnovers and as he gains more experience and playoff seasoning, he’ll be one of the leading faces of the next era of NBA basketball.

It’s really this simple: If you only play basketball part-time, when you are on the court, you have to play focused, A+, excellent ball at all times. No excuses. In a game the Nets absolutely had to have, Kyrie Irving was passive and not up to his standards on Sunday afternoon. The 8-18 from the field doesn’t look all that bad, but when you consider he wasn’t attacking the basket that frequently, only took one free throw attempt, and made some head scratching decisions when he had the ball. Irving and the Nets have no margin for error and with the way things are currently, they will need him to play like the Hall of Famer he is.

For more on the Hornets, check out At the Hive.