There isn't really a way to describe tonight's game other than weird. The Charlotte Hornets dominated the Denver Nuggets from start to finish despite not having Bismack Biyombo or Kemba Walker. There was no real reason to think Denver should lose tonight's game, especially in blowout fashion, when all the context is taken into consideration.
The Nuggets were at home, in what many consider the best home court advantage in the NBA, and the Hornets were beaten up. This is the kind of game a Western Conference team like Denver would usually take advantage. Instead they laid an egg and gave the Hornets a huge and much needed win . Denver's effort throughout the night was poor, and they never really looked that into it. Sure they were missing their hustle and energy guy in Kenneth Faried, but that's no excuse to lose a game where your opponent didn't make a single 3-pointer.
That's right, the Hornets went 0-for-11 from 3-point range and won in BLOWOUT FASHION. Here is a link to all the times that has happened since 1963. It's a little more frequent than expected, but it's still quite a rarity, and almost all the scores are relatively close.
Despite the Nuggets embarrassing themselves the Hornets still deserve some credit for their play tonight. Their defense was stout, the offense got what it wanted, and nobody looked tired in the thin Denver air. Of course, all teams look like NBA championship contenders in a blowout, but the Hornets really looked like getting to the rim was not a difficult task against the Nuggets weak defense. Their perimeter offered up no resistance to the rim, and the frontcourt didn't do that much better. Cody Zeller ate the Denver front court alive, and scored a career high 21 points while shooting 10-for-11 from the field. He also manged to pull down eight rebounds while playing some solid defense. This was not only Zeller's best game of the season but the best game of his entire career.
Some other players that had a big night were Jason Maxiell, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Noah Vonleh. Maxiell scored a handful of points, set some solid screens, and FOUR blocks including a monster of a swat on Javale McGee early in the game.
MKG had a great game himself dropping 17 points, and playing his usual brand of good defense. The defense is expected at this point, but any time Kidd-Gilchrist has a big scoring night is a chance for Hornets fans to get excited about what he can become.
Noah Vonleh played some honest to god real minutes tonight, and he did well! 3-for-5, 10 points, and 7 rebounds for the rookie. A weak front court like this was just the kind of game Vonleh was looking for to get a quality game under his belt. Maybe this is the start of a string of good play for him, and perhaps some more minutes in the rotation.
Of course, with any good game there are still some negatives. For starters, while the Hornets aren't exactly a great shooting team -- it's a damn miracle they won tonight without making a single 3-pointer. It's 2015, and the Hornets lack of outside shooting has been causing them harm all season, and it's an issue Charlotte will most likely be looking to address at the trade deadline.
That single complaint aside, the Hornets dominated and there's no reason to get up in arms about a poor shooting night. Yes, that is a very results based reaction, but this is also a results based game, and the Hornets dominated tonight.