In a day where both teams from Charlotte were playing in New York city it was the Charlotte Hornets that rose to the occasion, spoiling the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener 111-95. LameloBall and Miles Bridges kept the Hornets in the game and to the surprise of many, Ish Smith and Cody Martin closed Brooklyn out in the 4th quarter. Martin got under James 4PF Harden’s skin in the 4th quarter, drawing back-to-back charges. On a night where Terry Rozier didn’t play, Gordan Hayward and Kelly Oubre shooting 8-24 combined and Kevin Durant scoring 38 points, the Hornets found a way to win. Here are some observations:
Holding any team with Kevin Durant and James Harden under 100 points is a great night defensively. Brooklyn shot only 25% from the 3-point line and turned the ball over 17 times. The Hornets also won the rebounding advantage again, which is something I noted they needed to improve on before the season.
The Hornets may wish they reached an extension with Miles Bridges when they had a chance, because Miles is balling!!! Bridges had his 2nd consecutive 30-point scoring performance against Brooklyn and threw in 9 rebounds. Miles has been very effective from 3-point land early on this season – shooting 38% from 3 and 53% from the field overall. If he continues this strong play, he’ll be a strong candidate for the Most Improved Player award.
Role Players Stepping Up
Whether it’s been Ish Smith, Kelly Oubre or Cody Martin, the Hornets bench/role players have been outstanding so far this season. When some of the top players have struggled these guys have stepped up nicely. Ish was cooking so well in the 4th quarter, LaMelo Ball told James Borrego to stay with the hot hand. That’s a sign of a mature team that is on the same page. The chemistry on this team is very good and it’s obvious when your biggest star has the awareness and maturity to tell the coach to stay with the hot hand. Quietly, Cody Martin has scored in double figures in each of the Hornets first 3 games so far this season and continues to do the dirty work that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.
The Hornets will look to go 4-0 as they take on the Boston Celtics Monday in the Spectrum Center