Nicolas Batum

The Charlotte Hornets didn’t have any problem with the Philadelphia 76ers, beating them 100-85 with a Nicolas Batum triple double, a Kemba Walker horror show of shooting and no Jeremy Lin, with surprise back problems before the game.

Lin is no out with no official date for return. Maybe he and the team are just being cautious, but as they head into a difficult stretch, it’s going to be difficult for them without him, even if Batum plays like this every single night. As we mentioned a time or 100, Walker playing well or worse has little influence on how the team does, unless he’s really hogging the ball. He plays in his own little world, shooting away, while there’s something going on outside his bubble, for good and bad.

The Sixers win is another example, although playing the Sixers is often an example of nothing, on the Walker theory. He scored 16 points on 5-for-19 from the field. He launched 12 three-pointers, as the Hornets pulled away quite early in the game. That’s not a good shooting game, although not too bad in terms of eFG%. But the Hornets win games in other ways. The four players next to Walker make up for his defense and in this case, for his poor offensive night too.

Batum finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. He wasn’t the only one who looked good against the worst team in the NBA. Cody Zeller finished with a double double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Courtney Lee finished with 15 points including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Jeremy Lamb and Al Jefferson each scored 7 points off the bench, although there wasn’t anything special from the Hornets when the second unit played.

Some games make you work really hard to find an angle besides what clearly happened on the floor and the box score. Wins over the Sixers are often like that. Maybe Marvin Williams scoring just 8 points, showing the connection between his good games and Walker. He shot just 3-for-10 from the field to score 8 points, but did grab 9 rebounds. The Hornets finished with 65 rebounds in this game (9 on offense) thanks to the 76ers shooting 31.3% from the field. They’ve lost 10 games in a row, and are still stuck on nine wins, which is on pace to finish with the worst record in NBA history, tying a low point for this franchise.

The Hornets? Moving on to bigger and more difficult. They’re right behind the Miami Heat for fourth in the East, but after they finish their Sixers double header (playing them again on Friday) there’s the difficult April stretch, which includes playing the Cavaliers, Raptors, Wizards and Celtics on the road. For that, unless Clifford plans on benching him for prolonged periods on the bench, they’re going to need a healthy Lin. Good thing there are a few days off, including a Sixers game follow up, allowing him more time to rest.

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