The Charlotte Hornets showed some growing pains over the weekend in a back-to-back situation.
It’s been a wild weekend for the Charlotte Hornets. They played two hard fought games decided late and got two maddening results. On the one hand they beat the Atlanta Hawks 100-96, a touching point from the previous season from when Atlanta owned the series. On the other hand they could not put away the New Orleans Pelicans 121-116 the next night despite a talent gap (outside of Anthony Davis).
These differing results show where the 8-4 Hornets are right now. They can play with the big boys, but they can’t let up against the little guys. Up to now the Hornets had been doing a good job of beating the little guys and it is worth noting that this was the tail end of a back to back. NBA teams generally have more trouble with those as a general rule.
Atlanta first. The Hawks were one of four teams tied with the Hornets at the end of last season. They also ended up with the four seed hosting a playoff series because of tiebreakers. If the Hornets had won one more game against the Hawks last season they would have been the third seed in the East and played at home.
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The Hawks are a different team with Jeff Teague and Al Horford gone, but the expectations are still high. Certainly Horford would not have decked Cody Zeller as Dwight Howard did, but that is something else again. The Hornets needed Zeller to be the third scorer on the court that night in order to win. In fact one of the scaring things about watching the Hornets is trying to figure out where scoring come from outside of Kemba Walker.
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Scoring was less of an issue against the Pelicans though a dry stretch in the second quarter essentially kept the game close and allowed for the eventual Pelicans overtime victory. Davis could not be stopped and Marco Belinelli could only match one and not both of two big Pelicans bench performers.
The play of Belinelli, Spencer Hawes, and Frank Kaminsky has been another reason the Hornets have been able to maintain consistency. The new bench is just as deep as the older one that left in the off season.
Hopefully the Hornets get some rest before facing down the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow night.