The Charlotte Hornets continue to make the most of their home stand in a 118-103 win over the Detroit Pistons, led by Marvin Williams for a change while seven players score in double figures. Jeremy Lin looked good, but once again, he’s not shooting as well as he should be, and his role kinda puts a cap on what he can.
Williams scored 22 points on a night Walker had his worst game in a while. But the Hornets are so hot right now and seem to be in sync that their star player going 3-for-11 from the field (also 8 assists and 9-for-9 from the line) doesn’t make a difference. The Hornets for once didn’t rely on his isolations and half court play, and looked better for it, shooting 50.6% from the field and finishing with 28 assists. Nicolas Batum had 11 of those assists, as the Hornets and Pistons combined to turn the ball over 40 times and shoot 56 free throws, most of them in the first half.
The Pistons felt before the game they were headed into a less than pleasant experience. The Hornets, while not doing it all the time, can turn up the pace. Detroit, for now, are built to do well in that kind of game. Being unable to force their own grinding style on the contest, they pretty much fell out of it pretty quickly, although it wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the Hornets finally pulled away for good.
A neat little sequence headlining Lin with 8:41 in the fourth gave the Hornets a double digit lead again which they didn’t lose this time. He hit a three pointer before once again showing how good he’s become defensively with a steal off of Reggie Jackson and an assist to Courtney Lee, who finished with 15 points. The Hornets turned an 8 point lead into 13, and when Lin came out while Walker was re-introduced, it was a 16 point lead. It hovered around 15 points for the rest of the game.
Steve Clifford is enjoying this win streak, as the Hornets improve to 36-28, the first time they’ve been 8 games above .500 since the 2000-2001 season (never did that well as the Bobcats), but he’s trying to keep them focused on what happens after the regular season ends, and the Real season begins. Guys that have been in the playoffs and gone deep in the playoffs and know what it takes right now this is when they amp it up and get better.
The Hornets scored 69 points in the first half, and their bench, with both Lin and Frank Kaminsky finishing with a +10 during their minutes, outscored the Pistons 38-21. Besides Williams leading the team, Batum scored 17 points, Walker had 16, Lee with 15 and Cody Zeller scored 10. Al Jefferson scored 12 points and Kaminsky finished with 10.
Again, this isn’t ideal for Lin. He plays 20-23 minutes a game (22 in this case), and in a lot of those minutes he’s used as a shooting guard, or if your prefer to drop the position definitions, he doesn’t get the opportunity to be the playmaker. But with the Hornets going so strong over more than a month, it’s hard to argue with their logic. Results are impregnable to discussion and argument, so it remains about Lin trying to make the most in the situation he’s in. Hitting 3-for-7 from the field including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc is quite accurate for Lin considering how things have gone for him lately, but both he and the Hornets need more and better.