The Charlotte Hornets needed a victory in the worst way Wednesday night, over a struggling Brooklyn Nets team to open a seven-game home stand. And, while it was closer than most would have liked, it was a still a victory for the good guys as Charlotte held on for 116-111 win.
So, what can we take away from this win, you may be asking. I'm glad you asked.
- First, I feel very safe in saying that, more than anything else, this team is fun. Remember the last two seasons, where the team would sometimes struggle to break 80 in a full game? Those days seem to be long gone. 12 games into the season, and the team is averaging 102.0 points per game, up nearly eight full points from a season ago.
It is not just the points being scoring either — it's how the team can score now. The Hornets are officially a threat from beyond the arc. They average the sixth-most 3-pointers per game, and are making the shots at a 35.8 percent clip. No longer does the team depend solely on Al Jefferson for points. The team now plays at its best when the scoring can be spread around, as was the case Wednesday night when seven players scored in double digits, led by Nicolas Batum's 24 (who also added eight assists. The Hornets need to do whatever it takes to bring him back next year, even if it means breaking the bank for him).
- Going back to the 'team plays better when the scoring is spread around' narrative, the difference between the Hornets ball movement Tuesday night against the Knicks and Wednesday night against the Nets was night and day. Against the Knicks, Charlotte had just 13 assists. The Hornets tallied 16 assists in the first half alone, and finished with 27 on the night.
- For the first time in seven games, Charlotte was not outrebounded. They finished the night with 49 rebounds (nine offensive), compared to Brooklyn's 37 (five offensive). The Nets did not have an offensive rebound in the first half. Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lin led the way with nine boards apiece.
- Joe Johnson had 13 points in the first quarter, including going 3-for-3 from deep. He scored three points in the next three quarters.
- The Kemba Walker-Jeremy Lin duo has looked great for the most part, particularly closing out games. Against the Nets, the two combined for 31 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists. The guards play off of each other very well and, when combined with Batum, give the team three legitimate ball handlers — which one could argue is more than the team had last season.
- The Hornets get a well-deserved day off before returning to the court to take on the Philadelphia 76ers, who, in their game Wednesday, had 35 field goals and 31 turnovers and have yet to win a game this season.