Jeremy Lin Good, Kemba Walker Decent, Charlotte Hornets Don’t Improve

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The Charlotte Hornets lose, expectedly, to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 109-95. Kemba Walker did OK. Jeremy Lin was fine, and maybe even more than that coming off the bench. But this wasn’t a game the Hornets were supposed to win, going into the game just waiting to get it over with, especially with Nicolas Batum finishing with 0 points.

Update: By the way, Batum left the game in the third quarter with what appears to be more problems with his toe, which is an issue that dates back to last season. Cody Zeller is also injured. In short, the Hornets are in a really bad spot, which means this might turn into a lost season very quickly if things keep heading in the direction they’re currently in. (Thanks Nathan)

Walker led the Hornets with 21 points, shot responsibly (8-of-15 from the field) and after the game talked about the need to pass more and feed his teammates. That’s something Westbrook loved talking about last season before going on a 30-shot performance, for better or worse. But Westbrook is living up to his words this season, while doing whatever he wanted to against Walker, who might be the main offensive option for the Hornets, and yet remains one big hole on defense.

Lin scored 16 points on 6-of-11 from the field, finishing with two assists as Spencer Hawes continues to decimate a lot of chances for easy baskets. Lin himself must be missing Jeremy Lamb, who has missed the last four games. Lin played very good defense mostly on Dion Waiters, who finished the game with 2-of-9 from the field, as both he and Lin played 28 minutes. A solid game from Lin, who takes good shots and keeps “showing off” his new defensive stature, but all that remains secondary considering his role is handicapped to Walker’s presence, while the Hornets are unable to create some sort of winning streak.

Six players on the Thunder scored in double figures, led by Kevin Durant with 26 points. Russell Westbrook finished with 16 points and 15 assists and also 5 steals. It was one of those games in which he felt there’s easy prey in front of him which often motivates him defensively. When Westbrook is “feeling it” on defense and doesn’t lose focus, the Thunder are inferior to no one, as long as he doesn’t lose his mind on offense, which he does less and less this season.

Next for the Charlotte Hornets? A day of rest, and then playing on the road against the Orlando Magic, a team in trouble, especially on defense. The Hornets, who are only 4-15 this season on the road, play five of their next six games away from home, so if anyone feels that salvation from all this losing is just around the corner, think again. As we said, it’s going to take much better basketball and a whole conceptual change to turn this season back in the right direction.

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