The one thing that I am starting to enjoy with the 2016-2017 Charlotte Hornets is how any player can step up on any given night, at any point in any game, and they become the deciding factor for the night. While Kemba Walker’s 30 Points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals were huge, no one expected the next guy putting up big numbers to be Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky III. Off the bench, Frank scored 20 points (most of which coming in the 4th quarter), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Those are the kind of numbers that you love to see out of your sophomore players. Kemba had help from his starters too. Cody went off in the 3rd quarter, scoring the bulk of his 14 points on 6-9 shooting and 2-2 from the free throw line. Add in 9 rebounds, an assist and a block, and you have another solid performance from another of our core for the future. We can’t forget Nic. His game…well…it is frustrating to watch at times. He’s like a sleeper player. He can go almost unnoticed, and then spring to life and no one can stop him. There was a span in the 3rd quarter where he went 4-4 from the 3 point line. It was 3 after 3, and he looked completely unstoppable. I would love for his game play to be consistent throughout the entire game, but I will take what I can get. For the night, Batum finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, and most importantly, no turnovers. Marco Belinelli added 12 points, Hibbert returned to action to add 9 points, and Ramon Sessions scored a pair. 43 points from the bench was a great night for #BenchForceOne. Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist each provided 6 points on the night. Marv had an unusually quiet night, adding only 1 assist, 1 rebound, and 1 block. MKG had 6 rebounds and a block to go with his stat line for the night.
I can always tune in to a game, whether I’ve seen the whole game, half the game, or if I’m just seeing stats, and I can tell you what’s going on. Last night I tuned in at half time. I saw what field goal % each team was shooting and I looked to my 13 year old and told him that no team stays shooting as hot as the T’Wolves were. At the half, their FG-% was around 53% and Charlotte’s was around a modest 43%. At that point, I told him that the T’Wolves would cool off and the tables would turn. Cool off they did for a while. What I didn’t count on was the hornets finishing the game shooting 53.8% from the floor and 45.8% from the 3-point line. I can always count on the turnovers to remain under 14. Assists also determine wins or losses. If the Hornets are north of 20 assists, we’re winning the game. Last night we had 25 assists and 13 turnovers.
After a while, if you follow a team as closely as I have been over the past 5 years, you just learn the characteristics of the team. I can proudly say that with the past 3 years, even though there have been many players that have come and gone, the core has remained, and beyond the casual fan’s eye, the core is gelling and the passes, the motion on the floor, and the trust in each other just continues to improve and get stronger. The end result is a 7-3 Hornets team coming into a couple days off before they face the Southeast Division leading Atlanta Hawks. Back in the days when we had Biyombo, Howard would struggle against our team. Now with a stronger and wiser Cody Zeller and Roy Hibbert (I hope his knee soreness fades away), Howard still isn’t going to have a cake walk at the Hive. Hopefully the Bucks can help us out tonight and give the Hawks a loss before they come to Crown Town. Friday is going to be an electrifying time for the Hornets. Let’s take our place at the top of the division!
Let’s Go Hornets