The Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 113-99 Friday night in what was a relatively easy contest for the boys in teal. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 22 points, and Nicolas Batum added 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Troy Daniels, who played 25 minutes for the injured Jeremy Lamb, scored 17 points and connected on five of his seven 3-point attempts.
The victory gave the Hornets the four-game season sweep over the lowly Nets, and ensured that they can't fall lower than the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hornets currently sit in the sixth spot, just half a game back from fourth seed.
The Hornets came out flat in the first quarter, failing to rotate on defense and giving up a plethora of open 3-pointers to the Nets. Luckily, the Nets aren't a particularly good shooting team, and the Hornets were able to keep it close. The score was tied at 25 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same. At the half, the Hornets led 50-43. Walker had scored 11 of his 22 points, and Batum chipped in nine of his 14.
It was the second half that saw the Hornets take over the ball game. With the Nets reverting to bad habits and the Hornets looking to push the tempo, things quickly got out of hand for Brooklyn. The Hornets opened the quarter on a 19-10 run, capped off by two gorgeous, slithering scoop shots from Walker in transition. If you're not #WinWithWalker by now, I question your ability to reason.
By the end of the third, the Hornets had a 20-point lead over the Nets. Brooklyn was unable to get the lead below 14 for the rest of the game, and at one point were even down by 25 points, long after the Hornets had subbed out their starters.
The fourth quarter was essentially garbage time, though Jeremy Lin did play the entirety of the final period for some reason. Lin finished with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and four turnovers in 27 minutes.
The Hornets' offense was clicking on all cylinders Friday, with the team shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 37.8 percent on their 37 (!!!) 3-point attempts.
For the Nets, Wayne Ellington scored a team-high 21 points and journeyman Thomas Robinson added 16 points and 17 rebounds.
All in all, there wasn't much to take from this game. The Nets were not only inferior at full strength, but outright bad with the injuries they're facing. Every Hornet that played looked both healthy and in shape — including Al Jefferson and Batum — and should be ready to go for the playoffs. Daniels looked fantastic in place of the injured Lamb (who's dealing with a toe problem). Keep an eye on their minutes over the next week.
The Hornets' next game is on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. Keep an eye on those playoff standings — the Hornets only have three games left, and the third seed is definitely in play.