Everything is falling in place for the Charlotte Hornets at the perfect time. Last night's win over the New Orleans Pelicans didn't just signify another win at home. It's an example of what's so different about this Hornets team from year's past.
Charlotte currently finds themselves in a very long stretch of home games. From March 1st to March 21st they will play 12 games, and ten of them are in Charlotte. So far, the Hornets are undefeated through five games with a relatively easy schedule throughout this stretch of home games. Detroit is winnable, Houston is a mess, Dallas is winnable, Orlando should be a win but could be sneaky, Miami is a challenge, Denver isn't a gimme, and San Antonio is likely a loss. Of those games only Miami is on the road, and the Hornets play their best basketball this season at home.
In previous years, with an easy home schedule on the horizon, the Hornets were guaranteed to drop a handful of easy wins. That game against Orlando? That would likely be a loss for no apparent reason. Previous games in this home stretch such as Phoenix and Minnesota would have been dropped in previous season's, but not this group.
Call it mental toughness, more talent, or a mix of the two, the Hornets are winning games they should be in the most important stretch of their season. The playoff picture is beginning to take form, and with every win the Hornets not only find themselves locked into a spot, but with one of the higher seeds in the conference. They have an incredible opportunity here, and need to not let it go to waste.
Notes and Observations
Holy crap did the Hornets steal one in a game where they couldn't stop a tumbleweed from scoring on them. Big games from star players aren't uncommon against the system that Charlotte runs. They don't provide help on the perimeter or very often in isolation which allows big time scorers and individual creators to go off. That's how Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis score a billion points, but letting two guys go for almost 40 is not a great look. Can't let that happen.
This was arguably Courtney Lee's first big game for Charlotte. He shot a lot with 12 attempts, and he was the second highest scorer with 16 points. Lee isn't a player that likes to take over very often, but you want to see that he's comfortable in the offense and this is a good sign.
Jeremy Lin struggled to get much going offensively, but it's always nice to see him come up clutch in the end. #LinningTime
Meanwhile, Jeremy Lamb did not play well at all on either side of the ball. He's obviously a very streaky player, but when he's in rough stretches it can get really bad for awhile.
Kemba Walker dropped 35 points on 18 shots. There's no real analysis of that this is just absurd.
The Pelicans are the 1st team since the '84 Nuggets to lose a non-OT game when 2 players score at least 38 pts each. pic.twitter.com/aQL7iqlpuw— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 10, 2016
Whenever you think things are bad just remember that you aren't a Pelicans fan.