Hornets Forcing Coach Vogel's Hand
First-year man Myles Turner had started the previous 16 games in a row. During that period of games he averaged 30.3 minutes per game and proved to be productive enough (13.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game) to disrupt Karl-Anthony Towns's and Kristaps Porzingis's dominance over the Rookie of the Month award.
Yet last night Turner came off the bench for a somewhat lowly 18 minutes of playing time. Apparently starting Solomon Hill was Frank Vogel's response to Marvin Williams's 26-point game at Indiana (although I do want to note that Turner wasn't the only struggling to contain Marv in that game). The three-person Hornets announcing crew even openly cherished coach Vogel's admittance that the Hornets aren't a good match-up for Indiana.
The change in the Pacers line-up didn't seem to bother Charlotte much. First off, God bless Solomon Hill but he isn't as impactful on the court as Turner is. More of Hill and less of Turner can simply help the opposition in a vacuum.
Second off, the Hornets have an equally capable floor stretcher at the 4 spot on the bench as well. Veteran Marvin Williams might be more savvy but Frank Kaminsky's range also proved to give Turner fits in the pick-and-roll.
Here is an example of the rookie getting burnt three plays in a row in three different ways:
1) Turner drops back against a Kemba - Kaminsky pick-and-roll and Kaminsky hits a three;
2) Next time down Turner rightfully hedges, yet Kemba Walker splits the coverage;
3) Indiana stops the play by hedging, yet Kaminsky beats Turner on the close-out with the help of a subtle pump fake.
It's obvious that Turner is a good player, however, he committed more than a couple of mistakes on defense last night.
As for Solomon Hill, he was good for two corner threes, yet mostly was rather mediocre.
Pacers Falling Asleep on Full-Court Drives
An opposing guard successfully outsprinting your whole team after a dead-ball turnover is an odd collapse by a top 5 defensive team (the Indiana Pacers currently rank 4th in defensive efficiency). Both Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin managed to find such opportunities when Indy was lackadaisical about getting back on defense.
In their defense, even the Hornets broadcast crew didn't expect the solo drive by Walker to happen as they missed the live play.
Oddly enough this wasn't the only truly random occurrence of last night's game...
A Double Foul on a Block/Charge Call
I certainly had never seen anything like this. Referees Brian Forte and Marat Kogut each saw a collision by Nicolas Batum and Paul George differently. Thus they decided to call a double foul on the block/charge play and declared it a jump ball.
Not to say that such indecision is to be encouraged regularly, however, I liked the solution. If you can't settle on one call, better not to give one team or player more benefit of the doubt than the other.
Ironically enough, George fell asleep on the following alley-oop play between Kemba Walker and Batum to render Charlotte as the winners of this random event.
Eric Collins, With No Regard for Jinxing Traditions
I've already noted play-by-play man's Eric Collins's taste for basketball history trivia. Collins has been as consistent as ever on that front. Just recently he managed to name the university that Artis Gilmore attended within a millisecond upon Dell Curry testing his knowledge.
The announcer also has a way with numbers. Season firsts won't escape his attention, whether it's a starter accumulating stats at a season opener or a deep reserve getting his first points at home in January during a blow-out.
As of late we've been privy to a lot of data in regards to total three-pointers made by certain players for the season.
He's also always ready to mention great free throw numbers and won't shy away from reading them out before a Brian Roberts or Marvin Williams attempt from the charity line.
Yesterday though he jinxed Courtney Lee for his first miss of the year as a member of the Hornets.
Dell Curry instantly was ready to have his colleague's back despite the long-standing tradition for NBA announcers not to jinx their own guys at the free throw line.
Someone as grumpy as Tom Heinsohn certainly wouldn't have understood it.