The Charlotte Hornets homestand officially came to an end last night with their win over the Orlando Magic. What also came to an end this week was a perfect March after Monday's loss to the Dallas Mavericks. While disappointing, Charlotte had to lose again at some point and it did come against a solid team with a very good coach. Now, had they lost to Orlando tonight then fans might have started creeping back towards the panic button.
Orlando got off to a hot start behind Victor Oladipo last night, and it did give a small sense of feeling like the Hornets were going to regress all over again. However that wasn't the case with Charlotte storming right back behind their usual 3-point heavy style.
What was really noticeable in Charlotte's attack was how easily they were getting open shots off of screens. The Magic play a defense that's very high up and away from the basket. This style is countered by running those perimeter players through a ton of screens, and teams that are good at fighting through them can cause problems. The issue for Orlando is they're not good at fighting through them. Multiple times tonight, especially with Nicolas Batum, Charlotte would call a pick and roll and the man with ball would shoot as soon as they were around the set screen. These shots were open, they were frequent, and it was ultimately Orlando's demise.
Notes and Observations
Marvin Williams confidence right now is at an all time high. He attempted 21 shots in Charlotte's win which is something he never would have done in even November. He is 100 percent Charlotte's most important role player right now.
Frank Kaminsky has been struggling for quite awhile now and it's looking like he's hit the rookie wall. The big man has to be tired at this point of the season and his lack of makes on the offensive end is likely the result of that. It'll be interesting to see how Kaminsky's minute shake up once Spencer Hawes returns from injury.
This ball movement was just incredible. The San Antonio Spurs would be proud.
To show just how close the playoff race is right now. Charlotte has lost one game in all of March, but that one loss sent them tumbling down in the standings to sixth place. Every game matters at this point of the season and Charlotte just so happens to be playing their best basketball right at this moment.