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In Clifford we trust: How the Charlotte Hornets won Game 3

Coach Clifford doubled down on his process, and this time the results we'd been waiting for followed suit.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Every smart basketball person in the world yelled to bench Frank Kaminsky (the best case for which was made here).

Some asked Clifford again and again why he wasn't adjusting his strategy or personnel.

And all of those things made total sense to me and just about everybody else before the Charlotte Hornets cruised to their first playoff win in 14 years.

How it happened:

1. The Resurrection of the Old School

Praise Sir Charles of Barkley. A team went big -- and it worked. The help on Whiteside improved, the rebounding stayed solid, and the Charlotte bigs realized that in the NBA, being bigger than you opponent is still a thing that matters, small ball be damned. A tip of the cap to both Frank and Cody, for big-brothering various Miami wings who tried to get by defending them.

2. Trust the Process

Coach Cliff was right after all. The same shots that uncharacteristically went in for Miami for the first two game, were nowhere to be found in Game 3 as the Heat shot 34% from the field, as opposed to the 50-plus percentages they were growing accustomed. The team also seemed to compete with an increased "purpose of play" that Clifford is always preaching. Increased effort, communication, individual defense -- all the things that he offered up as the real solutions as opposed to the writer's cliched "adjustments", worked wonders.

3. Rooks

Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson went from having combined for 16 in Game 1 and 24 in Game 2 to being utter non factors with a paltry six in Game 3, while Frank managed to put in 15 and six after a slow start to the series, 11 of which came during a key 18-0 run in the third quarter where Frank had what can be legitimately referred to as an actual "playoff moment" (Justise who??).

4. Marv

Back from the dead, Marvin Williams finally came alive in the series, contributing 12 points and 14 rebounds on 5-9 shooting, after starting the first two games a combined 1-17 from the field. The Hornets third best player all season, he certainly played like it today. Behold, this wonderful example of a high percentage look:

Much of the Hornets flaws the first two games seemed to have been at least somewhat corrected by the fact that the team is back home, playing in front of a hungry, energetic, and familiar fan base. Even with Batum sidelined, Game 3 was a great example of how the team can and will have to play for the remainder of the series if they even want a shot at advancing to the semis.