The Charlotte Hornets played a preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks tonight. They lost, 95-88, but that’s not important, even if the Hornets didn’t play all that particularly well.
Tonight won’t, or shouldn’t be, reflective the Hornets come the regular season. Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, and Brian Roberts didn’t play, and the fourth quarter featured a lineup that only has a shot of playing together again if it’s with the Greensboro Swarm.
As expected, there was a lot of experimentation, and with that came a lot of sloppy play. Charlotte shot 36.8 from the field, and 18.2 percent from the 3-point line. It often wasn’t pretty, but there were certainly a few takeaways.
For starters, Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played together, and it was wonderful in the early parts of the game. Batum hit his first two 3-pointers, and MKG attacked the hoop as aggressively as he always had. The length these two have on the court together is noticeable, and it’s a shame we were robbed of it for much of last season. Batum would finish with nine points and four rebounds, while MKG would eight points and five rebounds.
Roy Hibbert was fed post touches a bit more than I expected. It was reminiscent of the Al Jefferson days, and a bit of a departure from last season, when the offense flowed more through Batum. Again though, preseason is for experimentation, and to his credit, Hibbert had a decent night, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
It looks as if Marco Belenelli and Jeremy Lamb will be the Hornets wings off the bench. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Batum play with either one however, given that both are better as catch-and-shoot players, and Batum is good at getting those types of players open shots. Both had so-so nights, finishing with seven points a piece.
Frank Kaminsky led the team with 13 points, most of those coming in the fourth quarter when the Hornets almost made a comeback. He was patient when posting up, and finished off a couple of nice post moves with a made bucket on more than one occasion.
Christian Wood has a lot of length and mobility, and showed that he might be more than a post scorer after taking his defender off the dribble from the top of the 3-point line, and finishing a tough layup.