Oh man, the Knicks are bad. They're really, really bad. And, after years of watching really, really bad basketball, I think we Charlotte fans are well-versed enough in roundball ineptitude to know it when we see it. So while I don't want to say "take this with a grain of salt" with regards to today's not-even-that-close 110-82 Hornets win against the Knicks, well.....take it with a grain of salt.
That being said, being up by 45 points after three quarters of play against terrible teams is the mark of a team that might actually be good, and we might need to raise our expectations for the rest of the Hornets' season. Remember when we thought the season would be over, or at least in dire circumstances, after Al Jefferson went down for 4-6 weeks due to a groin injury? That seems like a long time ago. I'm not suggesting it's helpful to the team that he's hurt, because that is still a gigantic hardship to overcome, but they've been playing so well in his absence that it seems they might be able to close down a playoff spot once he comes back.
Let's stay on today's game, though. Kemba Walker continued his hot streak by finishing with 28 points, 20 of which he scored in the first half, before coming out of the game due to the scoreboard. PJ Hairston finished with 15 in one of his best games of the season, and Brian Roberts also added double-digits off the bench, finishing with 14 on 5-8 shooting. Bismack Biyombo played terrific defense (although it's not as if he really needed to), and finished with 14 points on 5-7 shooting, plus twelve rebounds. Also in double digits was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who had another terrific all-around game. The Hornets finished the game shooting .500 from the floor, which has to be some kind of franchise record, or something.
Meanwhile, the Knicks were, uh, less good. Starters Cole Aldrich, Cleanthony Early, and Jose Calderon combined for a 6-28 shooting line. That's bad. As a team, they were .388 from the floor. That's bad. Their bench unit of marginal professional players looks generally awful, especially when compared with the veterans on the Charlotte bench (credit to Marvin Williams and Jason Maxiell for playing well).
Some nice things: we finally saw some minutes from Jeff Taylor and Noah Vonleh. Vonleh looked a little overmatched trying to lead a deep bench unit against a Knicks squad that was running a lot of starters in the late minutes of the game. As he gets a little more acclimated to playing against NBA players and with his teammates, he'll have more of a use in the Hornets' lineup. Looked like the same with Taylor, although time isn't exactly at his advantage anymore. He didn't look great, but he's more than capable of getting some minutes.
There's not really a whole lot more to say about this game; the Hornets all played really well, the Knicks basically all looked terrible, and the game stopped even having the appearance of being competitive pretty early on. It's awfully nice to have a blowout win, though. The Hornets have a four-game homestand coming up, and all four games are against teams that look fairly beatable right now. Today's game gives us some optimism about how those next four games could shape up.