Tonight was Jefferson's turn to lead the offense
One of the Hornets strengths is their balanced scoring on offense. In previous years, it was all on Al Jefferson or Kemba Walker to lead the team on offense -- beyond them the team didn't really have reliable options. That is different this season, with five players averaging in double figures in points per game. More importantly, the scoring comes from all positions, meaning the Hornets can take exploit opposing teams based on matchups. On Wednesday, Nicolas Batum was the man leading the way, taking advantage of a Brooklyn Nets team that doesn't defend the 3-point shot well. Tonight, Jefferson was the focal point, as rookie Jahlil Okafor was unable to defend him in the post. Jefferson took advantage, and finished with a game high 26 points.
With that said, the other four Hornets averaging over 10 points a game contributed offensively as well, with Walker (20), Batum (14), and Jeremy Lamb (13) each scoring in double figures, and Jeremy Lin (9) coming close. This balanced scoring from the starters and bench players is paying dividends, and is a big reason the team has gone 7-3 since their 0-3 start.
Tonight was Jefferson's night, but Monday's game could feature another Hornets' player leading the way, and it'll likely come down once again to matchups.
Kaminsky was quietly perfect
No love was shown to Frank Kaminsky in the recap (apologies), but the rookie went a perfect 4-4 from the field to score 9 points in just over 19 minutes. Kaminsky scored mostly at the rim, but knocked down a 3-pointer as well. He also dished out a great assist to Jeremy Lamb under the basket, who then drew the foul while making the basket.
Kaminsky has seen limited playtime early this season, and has struggled at times when given extended minutes, but tonight was the second solid performance in a row, following his 11 point outing on Wednesday. He's finishing at the rim, and his overall confidence and comfort level on the offensive side of things is rising. Defensively he made mistakes against Philadelphia, but it's encouraging to see him beginning to excel on offense, the part of his game that was supposed to be NBA ready from the start. It'll be worth watching to see if he can string three good games in a row on Monday.
The Hornets kind of let the 76ers back in it
The third quarter started as well as Charlotte would have hoped. Twice in a row the 76ers threw the ball out of bounds, and the Hornets took advantage, building their lead up to 26. Then, they got sloppy with the ball, and started missing shots, and suddenly the 76ers found themselves down by just 11 points. It would have been more concerning had it been against any other team, but it's now the second time this season the Hornets have had a huge lead and squandered it. Maybe they've re-watched the Carolina Panthers' wins over the Colts and Packers too many times, but the focus on both sides of the floor seemed to drop, and they began attempting low-percentage shots, and giving the 76ers open looks that built them a little momentum. This can't become a trend, because while 26 point leads are hard to come back from, they are possible, and if a team like Philadelphia can at least threaten a lead that big, a better team could probably do more than that.