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Quickcap: Hornets crush Nets, 115-91

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The Hornets came into Brooklyn desperately needing a win, and hoooooo boy, did they get a win.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In an important road game that they needed to win in order to gain some traction in the postseason picture, the Hornets absolutely slaughtered the Brooklyn Nets by a final score of 115-91. These two teams were tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference coming into tonight’s game, but the Hornets took the lead in the playoff race by a full game. Six players finished in double figures, Mo Williams tossed around fourteen dimes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist pulled down thirteen rebounds, and the entire team played great on defense.

I’m not sure the first quarter could have possibly gone any better for the Hornets, finishing the frame at a score of 35-15. They were thoroughly dominant on both ends of the court, including a stretch where it seemed they couldn’t miss even if they tried. Remember that scene from Pleasantville where the entire basketball team takes jump shots, and every shot goes through the hoop at the same time? It was kinda like that. Marvin Williams started the game over Cody Zeller, and it turned out to be a very good decision, as both he and Al Jefferson reached double digits in scoring by the end of the quarter, and Mo Williams chipped in with nine assists. It was a pretty solid twelve minutes of basketball.

The second quarter got a little tighter, thanks to a 10-0 run by the Nets that saw them pull within a dozen points, before the Hornets’ offense remembered what they were supposed to be doing out there. And then the Nets went on another run, keeping the score at 56-44 at halftime. The Nets started rebounding much better than they had been, which pushed them back into the game, although Cody Zeller’s foul trouble (three in five minutes), and subsequent absence from the rest of the half, didn’t help the Hornets’ second unit one bit. At this point, the Hornets had still continued to find open looks from three, which mitigated some of the defensive issues they were seeing in the second period.

The Hornets got off to another nice start in the third quarter, pushing their lead back up to 22 after four minutes of play in the second half. It was another strong quarter for Charlotte, and it seemed like they had this one in the bag, up 88-66 heading into the final period. By this point, every starter had reached double digits in points, and it seemed like only a matter of time until the deep bench options entered the game. I was already looking at the bench to see when Noah Vonleh’s warmups would come off.

It was more of the same in the fourth quarter— the Hornets kept up their efforts on both sides, the Nets struggled on both sides, and the Hornets were never challenged. Nothing really notable to affect the overall course of the game happened that hasn’t already been mentioned. Vonleh got into the game with about four and a half minutes remaining, and he finished with no shots, no points, no rebounds, no blocks, and no steals. His passing did look pretty good, though! But he did finish with zero assists.

The Hornets return home on Friday night for a tough matchup against the Toronto Raptors, and they’ll need to maintain the momentum they gained tonight in order to win that one.