Biyombo voices Hornets playoff goal shortly before team finds out a starter has a broken finger

By Richard Walker

Tenth-year Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo is the second-oldest player on the team and has the most years of service with the organization.

Entering Thursday’s third of four preseason games, Biyombo is very clear where the team’s goal should be entering the 2020-21 season that begins on Dec. 23 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I just want to get to the playoffs and we’ll figure out the rest,” Biyombo said in a Wednesday zoom news conference. “That’s what I’m most excited about.

“We have to be in the mix and we’re going to be in the mix.”

That enthusiasm continues to grow among Hornets players and coaches who would like to rewrite the team’s woeful postseason past.

The Hornets haven’t won a postseason series since 2002 and have only three playoff victories total in three appearances since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 – in 2010, 2014 and 2016.

Third-year head coach James Borrego will look to get the Hornets headed in that direction with its final two preseason games on Thursday and Saturday nights at the Orlando Magic.

He and the franchise got bad news not long after Wednesday’s practice session when the team announced that forward Gordon Hayward sustained an avulsion fracture of his fifth metacarpal on his right hand during Monday’s preseason home game against Toronto.

Hayward will miss Thursday’s game and likely Saturday’s game and his status for the Dec. 23 regular season opener at the Cleveland Cavaliers is uncertain.

Hayward was the Hornets’ biggest offseason acquisition. A Boston Celtics free agent, he reached a deal with Charlotte before the teams made a sign-and-trade deal on Nov. 29.

A 10-year NBA veteran, Hayward has averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 641 games (479 starts). Hayward has started both preseason games and is averaging 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.