After the last few days, it felt really good for the good guys to get a victory.
The Hornets bounced back after Saturday’s late game collapse with a 112-107 win. Yes, it was over the lowly Sacramento Kings, and it was closer than most fans would have liked, but the win was achieved. Charlotte was without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as he was out with a right axillary abscess. Coach Steve Clifford decided to keep his rotations as similar as possible, electing to start Treveon Graham and continue to bring Jeremy Lamb off the bench as a scoring option. The move worked well as Lamb was the team’s second leading scorer with 18 points. Charlotte appeared to break the game open in the second quarter, ending the half on an 8-0 run. But Sacramento went on a 8-0 run of their own in the fourth quarter and made it interesting. Unlike Saturday, Charlotte was able to hold on, as Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard went a combined 7-8 from the free throw line in the last two minutes to ice the game.
Kemba Walker lead the way with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Dwight Howard registered another double double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Marvin Williams continued his stellar play with 14 points while shooting 3-5 from three. Nic Batum scored 14 points on 13 shots. He took the second most number of shots on the team tonight, a welcome sign of aggressive offense from the Frenchman. Charlotte had twice as many fast break points as Sacramento (12-6) .
While Charlotte won, the game was way too close down the stretch. Charlotte needs to do a better job putting teams away. Charlotte got outscored in the paint 50-32, and allowed Sacramento to shoot 46% from three. To win in the NBA consistently you need to be able to guard the paint and the three point line. Charlotte also had 17 turnovers to 9 for Sacramento. They have to take better care of the ball.
Charlotte’s home stand continues Wednesday as the Hornets host the New Orleans Pelicans.