Mac & Bone Podcast
The Hornets back-to-back the past two days against the Hawks in Atlanta and Philadelphia at home was a tough enough task as it is, but the Hornets' COVID issues made it an even tougher stretch than it had to be. After four key players missed the game on Sunday night in Atlanta, Ish Smith, the team's backup point who had to start the other night due to the scenario that the team is dealing with, was also placed in the NBA's COVID protocol yesterday afternoon, leaving the Hornets even more short handed than they were the night before. That means the pressure was on some of the remaining players to step up and Kelly Oubre Jr. has answered that bell. Oubre had another huge night on Monday, dropping 35 points on 13-24 shooting from the field overall and 6-13 shooting from behind the arc, continuing what has been an extremely successful seven-game stretch for him. In those seven games, Oubre has averaged 25.3 points per game, a team-high during that stretch and it has begun to generate the question as to whether or not he should be considered for a starting role.
The Hornets came into this weekend looking to get back on track after three straight losses that included one to the lowly Rockets. The team was able to do just that last night with a 130-127 win in Atlanta despite the team being short-handed without three starters, LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee, and one role player in Jalen McDaniels who were all placed in COVID protocols on Saturday afternoon as first reported by Stadium's Shams Charnia.
To say that this Panthers season has been a roller coaster is an understatement. The team raced out to a 3-0 start to begin the season, getting the talks of the playoffs stirred up early on before the team would be brought back to Earth and left searching for answers with a six-game stretch where they lost five games, including four straight after the 3-0 start. The franchise was reinvigorated when they resigned franchise legend Cam Newton prior to the Arizona game and followed that with a big win on the road against the Cardinals, making some reconsider whether the Panthers could make a playoff push. However, those thoughts have seemed to be dashed in a lot of people's minds after two straight losses, including a blowout loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.
The Hornets 2021-22 season has been a season of winning and losing streaks and the Hornets are currently marred in one of those losing streaks at the moment. Despite 36 points from LaMelo Ball on Wednesday night, the Hornets dropped their third straight game in a thriller 127-125 to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.
The Carolina Panthers start to the bye week has produced more disappointment following the two-game losing streak that has pushed to the outside looking in at the NFC playoffs. On Monday, running back Christian McCaffrey was deemed out for the season with an unspecified leg injury which has left many confused and wondering about the future of the star running back. Tuesday shifted the focus to the other side of the football when Donte Jackson was placed on the IR with a groin injury.
The North Carolina Tar Heels closed out their 2021 regular season with a collapse against the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night that closed out an extremely disappointing season overall. Tar Heel kicker Grayson Atkins nailed a 50-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining to take a 30-21 and seemingly put the game away, but the Tar Heels would allow the Wolfpack to score twice within the final two minutes to complete one of the worst collapses in college football history.
Coming into last Sunday reunion game in Bank of America Stadium with the Washington Football Team, the Carolina Panthers had some high hopes about the remainder of the 2021-22 season and who could blame them. The team had just brought back arguably the most iconic figure in the history of the franchise and then proceed to go on the road to Arizona and take down one of the NFL best teams in dominant fashion.
The Panthers currently have the eighth toughest remaining schedule based on winning percentage down the stretch of the season, headlined by the brutal four game stretch to finish the season. That stretch makes Sunday's game in Miami for the Panthers as important as just about any game this season for the Panthers as they look to make a playoff push at the direction of the Cam Newton. Earlier today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined the Mac Attack and described just how important this game is for the Panthers.
Amazingly, this weekend is the final weekend of the college football regular season and among the matchups that will headline rivalry weekend will be a matchup between the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks that feels much more competitive than in years past. The Tigers have rebounded from a tough 2-2 start to the season and are now in position to still find their way into a NY6 bowl game, while the Gamecocks will enter the game off a huge upset win over Auburn that makes them bowl eligible in Shane Beamer's first season in Columbia. Not only does Matt Hayes of Saturday Down South, who stopped by with the Mac Attack earlier this morning, believe that the Gamecocks can keep it close, he thinks they have a legitimate chance to pull the upset thanks to Beamer.
Sunday afternoon was supposed to be another perfect chapter to the story of Cam Newton's return to Carolina. The first drive of the game provided a lot of promise for those thoughts, as the Panther offense drove straight down the field to take the early 7-0 lead on a Cam Newton 10-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Moore. However, after that, the Panthers were in a battle with a Washington Football Team that many expected would roll over in the crazy environment that was Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. Instead, Washington was able to move the football up and down the field against the Panthers, finishing with 369 yards of total offense, including 190 on the ground.