Since returning to Charlotte as the Bobcats in 2004, the now-Hornets have been a mostly non-descript franchise, with just two winning seasons in that span coming into this year, along with two first round sweeps. Of his 29 total points off the bench, Lin's 15 fourth-quarter points were one fewer than the entire Spurs team scored in the fourth, and were the second most fourth-quarter points in his career. But last night (a 23-point comeback to beat the San Antonio Spurs) really put us there. A Charlotte Hornets team with Walker, Batum and Lin clicking on all cylinders at the same time is a team that can steal away the third seed in the Eastern Conference from the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, or Boston Celtics. The Nets, on the other hand, dropped to 19-51 in the season.
So, that begs the question: how good are the Hornets?
The Hornets have solid balance between offense and defense, but they still don't have the firepower to just mow through an opponent. The former Harvard University standout also knocked down all four three-point attempts, picking up from where he left off during their 101-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. They have obviously made an effort to shoot more threes, as most of the league has.
The Spurs led 28-7 after one quarter, limiting the Hornets to 14.3 percent shooting from the field, 3-for-21.
Compare those numbers to last season's Hornets, ranked 24th in 3PAr at. Per NBA.com, the Hornets have risen to third in three-point attempts this season, trailing only the Rockets and the Warriors.
A year ago, Charlotte was in the lottery while the Nets were in the playoffs.
Brooklyn out rebounded the Hornets 44-36.
The Hornets still have some weaknesses, namely their Offensive Rebounding Rate, which ranks 27th at 20.3 percent. They stopped moving the ball, it was one-on one, turnovers.
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The Charlotte Hornets will next play against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, March 25th as they continue their current four game road trip after two days of rest. "It's home-court advantage. Of course, everyone wants to be at home, especially for the first two games". "They've been playing great basketball of late".
Lin's ability to keep his dribble alive, dance around high screens and relentlessly attack the rim is what makes him such an incredibly useful ball handler off Charlotte's bench.
The composition of the team might change against next year. This team has received contributions across the board, whether it is Lin, Batum, Jefferson, Marvin Williams or Walker - who are all averaging double digits in scoring in the second half of the season. His True Shooting Percentage of 55.6 is also on pace for a career-high. I know most of you could get me fired.
"So to answer your question, yes".
With the crowd behind them, Charlotte took their first lead of the game, at 75-74, with 9:10 remaining in the game from a Lin three pointer.
The Hornets fell behind in the game by a seemingly unsurmountable margin right out of the gate. Charlotte is the better team and should be able to prove it tonight. Aaron Harrison and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did not dress.
However, if they can grab the 3 or 4 seed, their ability to win a first-round playoff series is very apparent. His plus/minus rating was a team best plus-12 and his 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting was second only to Lin's 29.