The Charlotte Hornets are back. They had the jerseys, the logo, and Hornets related commentary from the announcers. It's been talked about for almost a year now, but tonight it felt real. Unfortunately, the team couldn't bring the Hornets back with a win. Not that it matters because it was pre-season, and everything in pre-season has to be taken with a grain of salt.
With some new additions, Steve Clifford decided to give his starters some run, giving all of them 20 minutes of game time, but none of them played down the stretch, despite the game being within reach. In fact, everybody not named Jason Maxiell got at least 20 minutes of game time, Clifford was clearly trying to get a look at his entire roster.
The Hornets started off the game by trying out some new things. They immediately got Lance Stephenson involved in the offense, allowing him to work with the ball in his hands. That's a skill that Stephenson brings to the team that I'm sure the Hornets will be implementing into their offense this season. He was also involved in a few spot up situations, knocking down two of his three attempts from deep.
A few other new things the team tried was upping the pace, and dribbling more. Last year's team played a little slower than they did at the beginning of tonight's game, preferring to get into sets rather than out run their opponent. They also were a little more free with dribbling and trying to create their own shot. Last years team kept dribbling to a minimum and tried to move the ball as much as possible.
Something else that's new, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jumpshot! It looks better than ever, and while his shots weren't falling, he did go 5-for-6 from the free throw line. When the games get real and defenses become more intense, we're gonna want to keep an eye on his form. Muscle memory has a tendency to kick in and we'll have a better idea how much MKG's shot has changed.
As the game went on, the Hornets slowly moved back into what they usually do. The team became more recognizable on the offensive end of the floor, and it looked like they were done experimenting. I'm sure some of what the team experimented with will be implemented into the offense this season, but we won't know for sure until the games start to count.
The Sixers dominated in the 2nd quarter, taking advantage of some lackluster defense from the Hornets. While there might be a little bit of concern with the team taking a night off like this, it is pre-season so you expect them to take it a little easy on that end of the floor. After all, no need to get injured when it doesn't count.
The Hornets lost due to bad shooting and lackluster defense. Shooting is always worse in the pre-season than in the regular season, and you can't expect a team to give 100% on defense for this kind of game. Since it was their first pre-season game, Charlotte spent a lot of time experimenting and seeing what could work. Nothing to get too concerned about right now. Now if we're into the 2nd week of the season and the team is still playing like this, then there would be a lot to be concerned about, but I doubt that happens.