The Charlotte Hornets got MKG back yesterday, but the absence of the Jeremys led to a loss in Portland.
Sadly the Charlotte Hornets did not recover from the sting of losing to Utah last night. They lost decisively to the Portland Trailblazers as well, falling by a 109-91 margin. It was a game where the Hornets were missing yet another key player in Jeremy Lin. That made the roster of the missing look like Jeremy Lamb, Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, and Lin.
You should notice someone missing from that list. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came back for the first time all season. Coach Steve Clifford did not put him on a minutes restriction or anything either. So if you watched the game you got thirty-four minutes of Kidd-Gilchrist.
His stat line was not bad either. He had thirteen points and seven rebounds, which is better than the average night from the player who had been starting in his position, P.J. Hairston. The problem that even Kidd-Gilchrist could not solve was the Hornets shooting issues. In a way, Kidd-Gilchrist probably made that problem worse since he is no great shooter himself.
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On a night where both Lamb and Lin were unavailable and Hairston was limited to being a bench player, the Hornets needed big nights from their other perimeter players. Neither Nicolas Batum, Kemba Walker, nor Brian Roberts were able to shoot efficiently. Roberts (17 points) and Walker (14 points) got to double figures, but it was not like the last batch of games that Walker had played.
There was some fear that Walker was hurt at the end of the game, but Coach Clifford said he was letting Roberts ride the hot hand.
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Batum got eight assists but was one for eleven shooting it. So there was not much chance of the Hornets putting up a win over his former team without a better team shooting night. Twenty points from Marvin Williams could not even make up the difference here. There was even a Tyler Hansbrough double-double in this one.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s return to the team should make the defense tougher, and the new open concept offense should allow him to attack the rim since no single post currently occupies the paint. The Hornets still need to turn things around to catch the eighth playoff spot.
The Hornets visit the Lakers tomorrow.