The Charlotte Hornets showed they still had a little fight in them by coming back and defeating the Brooklyn Nets, 111-105. Charlotte was down 19 at the half, and it got worse to start the third quarter. However, in the second half of the third quarter, Dwight Howard took over. Howard finished with his best game of the season (and of his career), totaling 32 points and 30 rebounds. 30 rebounds marks a new franchise record.
Charlotte outscored the Nets 36-18 in the fourth quarter in large part due to Howard. The lineup of Howard, Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon and Frank Kaminsky. This group was vital down the stretch. Kemba hit the And-1 that gave Charlotte its first lead since the first quarter. He finished with 24 points despite not shooting well.
Bacon has six points, and six rebounds was an impressive +8 in plus/minus and are starting to earn Steve Clifford’s trust with his defensive play. Kaminsky was the only player off the bench in double figures with 11 points. Lamb had an excellent game with 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and he scored massive layup in the fourth quarter. The other two starters of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams had nine points between them.
On the Brooklyn side of things, D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 19 points, but it was a balanced effort with five other Nets in double figures. The Nets came out on fire with 62 first points, but they only had 43 points in the second half. Charlotte’s defensive intensity was much better in the second half.
Brooklyn shot better from the field and three in the game, but the Hornets made up for it by shooting 36-for-47 from the field. Thanks to Howard, the Hornets also crushed the Nets on the boards, 68-46.
This was an impressive win for the Hornets. They have been playing poorly of late especially on defense and that looked like it was continuing in the first half. In the second half, they showed improved intensity and resilience. Most importantly, they showed they are still playing hard and they have not thrown in the towel for the season. The playoffs are out of reach, but it is important to build winning habits and Clifford is still doing his best to get the most out of this group. Playing the young guys with the starts have been a good chance to grow while playing in an organized system for a team that is trying to win.
Tomorrow night at home against the Memphis Grizzlies is another chance for the Hornets to get a win and get some more minutes for the young guys.