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Steve Clifford: Nicolas Batum likely to play for Hornets in Game 5 against Heat

Nicolas Batum, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow

Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum (5) drives to the basket as Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, center, and forward Justise Winslow (20) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


Nicolas Batum missing the rest of the Hornets-Heat series with an ankle injury?

Forget it.

Hornets PR:

The Hornets lost two games with Batum then won two without him, though the victories were in Charlotte. The challenge will again me immense in Miami tonight with or without Batum.

Reintegrating him might not be seamless, especially if he’s limited physically. But he has helped the Hornets all season. It’s on Steve Clifford to balance Batum’s ability and what worked for Charlotte the previous two games.

Frank Kaminsky, Batum’s replacement in the starting lineup, stepped up in Game 3 then produced a dud in Game 4. As long as he’s healthy enough, Batum is a better option than the rookie Kaminsky – even if Kaminsky played one excellent game. Batum is the better player. That hasn’t changed.

The Hornets don’t necessarily need Batum to win, as we’ve seen. But he helps.