The Hornets kicked off a 4-game West Coast trip in style last night. In a game that basically no one gave them a chance to win, they put together arguably the best overall team effort of the season to shock the defending champs, 111-100 in Oracle Arena. The Hornets’ season was on life-support before last night’s game. Maybe this was the jolt to the heart the team needs to make a bit of a run.
The Hornets came out with a desire and intensity we haven’t seen enough of, especially on the road. They were getting hands in passing lanes early and often. They had 12 steals and 6 blocks in the game, which led to a lot of easy buckets on offense. The Hornets got to the line 34 times compared to only 13 for the Warriors, mostly due to the Warriors having little to no interest in driving the lane.
The Hornets also moved the ball extremely well, converting 27 assists on their 41 made field goals. This included a season high 7 assists from Dwight Howard, who appeared to turn back the clock to 2007. He tallied 29 points and 13 boards to go with the assists and even made 75% of his free throws (9-12)
Everyone played their part, including the bench, and not one Hornets player had a negative plus/minus by games end — which, in a game decided by 11 points, is very impressive.
If I have to put something here, I would have to say they let Klay Thompson get loose early and often. He had 20 points in the first half, but they clamped down on him in the second half, holding him to 4 points on 2-6 shooting.
Number to know
With 3 winnable games left on this New Years’ road trip, this could be the time the Hornets turn around their season. If, and it’s a big if, they can build momentum on this road trip — 8 of their next 9 are at home.
A New Years Eve match-up with the Los Angeles Clippers, who just got Blake Griffin back, but are still missing a few of their players due to injury.