Has anyone ever been to one of those games where it just seems like the team can’t get into any sort of rhythm? Last night’s Hornets game was such a game. I was in attendance last night, 5 rows behind the bench, and it just seemed like there was no flow to last night’s game. Not much noise or excitement there either. As the game wound down, the arena sparked to life, but after the first 2 quarters, and the Hornets being down to a sub-par team, there wasn’t a while lot to be getting excited about.
The Hornets allowed the Heat to get hot shooting and with a 30-point 2nd quarter, the teams headed to the locker room with the visitors leading 49-42. Even at the start of the 3rd quarter, the Hornets just seemed to be lacking drive. My concern about the team having a “blowout hangover” was a major concern for me, but as soon as I was the most uncomfortable with the score, we had ourselves a 31-point quarter while holding the Heat to 17. The 4th quarter wasn’t a pretty one, but in the end, we came away with the victory, and that’s all that matters.
There are a few mental notes that I made that I wanted to share with everyone:
First off, I’m not so certain that the NBA referee crew has been notified or not, but LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh are not playing for the Heat anymore. Never in my life have I been at a game and seen so much contact on drives and layups and no foul called. When the Heat would be on offense (in the second half when they were right in front of me), it would appear that the referees would have a hand up, ready to call a foul before it would even happen. Now, I know that no one wound up in foul trouble last night for either team, and I hate to see fouls dictate a game, but it took 4 drives to the basket in the first half, and Ramon Sessions almost getting whiplash as he was slammed to the floor before a foul was called. I just often worry about player safety. Coach Spoelstra was arguing some no calls the other way, and I think he was just as justified to, but he would argue that his guys didn’t foul anyone…that’s just what a coach has to do.
My other point is one that I’m sure that the coaching staff has picked up on. If a team can constantly keep changing tempo, changing game plans, and not allow for any sort of flow to be established in a game, the Hornets struggle to win. The game last night was the second one I’ve see the Hornets play this year where there was no good smooth flow to the game. It was choppy and ugly, and the end result was that the Hornets barely broke 90 points. At least we won though. We are going to have to work on finding a way to force a flow into the game as we move deeper into the season. I don’t know any other way that the Heat stayed as close as they did. When your leading scorers on the night are 2nd year man Josh Richardson scoring 20 points and hitting 60% from the 3-point line, and 3rd year man Tyler Johnson scoring 18 points, that’s reason for concern for me.
For anyone keeping tabs on that Justise Winslow versus Frank Kaminski comparison, Justise had 1 point on 0-9 shooting to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 turnovers. Frank had an equally abysmal night shooting the ball, scoring 4 points on 1-11 shooting. He also added 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks, and 1 turnover. I think Frank won this one.
Keys to winning the game last night are pretty simple to point out.
Step 1 – Take Care of the ball. We only turned it over 8 times.
Step 2 – Rebound! – We out-rebounded the Heat 54 – 46
Step 3 – Make Foul Shots – We made 14 of 18. The Heat made 6 of 13
We had 3 starters in double figures, and one bench guy in double figures, and usually, that points us to a victory.
Kemba Walker – 22 points – 7 rebounds – 4 assists – 1 steal
Nic Batum – 16 points – 13 rebounds – 8 assists – 3 steals – 1 block
Marvin Williams – 13 Points – 1 rebound – 2 assists – 1 steal
Jeremy Lamb – 10 points – 8 rebounds – 1 block
Cody Zeller – 9 points – 7 rebounds – 2 assists – 1 steal – 1 block
Ramon Sessions – 9 points – 2 rebounds – 1 assist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 4 points – 6 rebounds – 2 steals – 1 block
Frank Kaminsky III – 4 points – 6 rebounds – 1 assist – 1 steal – 3 blocks
Roy Hibbert – 4 points – 4 rebounds – 2 blocks
So, Lebron James and the Cavs come to town for a New Year’s Eve showdown tomorrow night. I’m hoping to see the Cavs drop like the ball in Times Square tomorrow. I am a firm bee-liever in this team, and I believe in an evenly officiated game, a fully healthy Hornets team can beat Cleveland. I do believe that we are missing Marco Belinelli right now. I want a healer to lay some hands on that left ankle and get him on the court for tomorrow night’s game. I’ll be watching from home, looking for Cleveland to get “rocked” in Buzz City!
Let’s Go Hornets!