James Borrego made a last minute adjustment to the lineup and, for tonight’s game at least, it worked. Dwayne Bacon got the start in place of Nicolas Batum, joining Kemba Walker, Miles Bridges, Marvin Williams, and Bismack Biyombo in the starting five. They didn’t light the world afire as a group, but they played well.
Miles Bridges played perhaps his best game as a pro. He scored 11 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, making for his first career double double. He even threw in four assists and two steals to boot. It’s that kind of all around performance that Bridges should be able to provide consistently as he matures.
Kemba Walker was Kemba Walker. He scored 31 points and dropped six dimes, and he somehow managed to that relatively quietly.
Malik Monk stuffed all his highs and lows as a player into his 19 minutes of play. He was rather sloppy, resulting in two turnovers, zero assists, and four fouls, but he reminded everyone of what he’s capable of as a shot maker. He made five of ten shots from the field, including four of seven from three, and they weren’t of the easy catch and shoot variety. He hit a couple tough pull-ups and provided an offensive spark off the bench.
There are a couple different ways to interpret this win, and both are correct. The Hornets’ youth played well and showed promise, but it has to be noted that they did it against a Timberwolves team that’s already pressed the tank button. This win is good for morale (and slim playoff hopes), but it’s bad for draft positioning. The team looked loose and happy during the game, but it’s fair to wonder if that’s because they’re playing looser knowing their season is all but over.
The schedule is brutal over the next couple weeks; seven of the Hornets next nine games come against playoff teams, and the other two are on the road against Western Conference teams. That starts with a visit from the Boston Celtics on Saturday, the last classic night of the season.