The Charlotte Hornets pulled off the impossible last night against the Miami Heat. Basketball is an imperfect game played by imperfect people in an imperfect way. Last night, the Hornets couldn't do wrong no matter what they did. It was a blowout from the start of the game all the way to the end of it, and that's not something fans are used to seeing over the last couple years. Even during the playoff run in 2013, the Hornets mainly found themselves in close games, or on the opposite end of a blowout. This season, they've been on the positive side of a few, and last night may have been their best game of the season.
What's even harder to believe is just how well the Hornets have played this entire season. Throughout November there was a general thought that Charlotte was playing well, but eventually they would regress back to a mean, and look like the team we expected in the preaseason. However, after last night's win over a legitimately good team in the Miami Heat, it's safe to say that Hornets are legitimate.
Notes and Observations
The Hornets shot the lights out last night, but what was really impressive is how they created those shots. They forced Miami to fight through screens, moved the ball well, and found great looks from deep that they knew they could make. Unlike previous shooting nights this one felt entirely sustainable.
Al Jefferson was suspended five games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. The Hornets have played well without him so far, and they showed they should be able to hold their own until the big man gets back against the likes of Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh. Jefferson was never the best defender, but his size alone was usually a problem for guys like Whiteside. Give Zeller and Williams credit for holding that line.
Frank Kaminsky continues to look better every moment he steps on the floor. He's visibly a better player than he was a month ago, and he's clearly comfortable with his role on the court. Of course, he still has a few rookie moments here and there such as not taking the open shot. He's getting better though.
Nicolas Batum got his fifth career triple double last night, and capped it off on an alley-oop. It was awesome.
Charlotte currently leads the Southeast Division
The Hornets are currently second in the Eastern conference.
Yes, I'm surprised too.
Aaron Harrison got some real NBA minutes last night, and had a few moments that reminded us why he earned that final roster spot after going undrafted. He sprinted the floor and dove for a loose ball in a blowout game that was well decided. Coaches, and fans, notice stuff like that.
Last night was definitely the Hornets best game of the season, and it's fun to start wondering just how far this team can go, and exactly how good they are.