The Brooklyn Nets (33-15) extend to a 4-game winning streak after demolishing the Charlotte Hornets (24-22), 111-89 at Barclays Center. It was a beatdown from the start, not gonna lie. The Nets played without key stars, Blake Griffin and James Harden but never lost a beat as they rolled throughout the start till the end to come up with the victory.
As a Hornets fan, nothing much can be said from this game. It would be one of the rare times the Hornets would play live on national television. Under the bright lights, their performance was not that good tonight. Maybe, the Hornets just love to be under the radar. From the start of the 1st, Brooklyn looked sharp tonight with Kyrie leading the offense with open look 3’s. It never stopped as Charlotte never got into a good grove to sustain the offense. The rest of 2nd half was basically garbage time for both teams with a lead too big to catch up. At least, the Hornets made the final score respectable with a scoring run of their own in the fourth.
It was LaMarcus Aldridge‘s debut game tonight and he didn’t disappoint. His performance showed why his pickup would be vital for the team during the playoffs. He finished the game with 11 pts, 9 rebs, and 6 asts. The Nets allowed Aldridge to be himself in the post which was rewarding for the other players in the team. It opened up a lot of 3-point shots and perimeter jumpers which the team capitalized on. It was a balanced scoring throughout the team with 6 players scoring 10+ or more. Kyrie did most of the playmaking for the team with 15 points, 11 rebs, and 8 asts.
The Hornets had just 4 players in double digits. Not one of them had 20+ points. Devontae Graham had a decent showing with 13 points and 5 rebs and Malik Monk with 11 points and 4 asts in limited playing time. After tonight, this game brings the hornets 4-2 over their last six and 5-5 over the last ten.
Star of the Game
It may come up as a surprise for some of you but Jeff Green was the star of the game tonight. The veteran forward had huge plays all throughout the game. I guess the addition of Aldridge brought so much attention to the frontcourt that they forgot about Green’s offensive bag. Green finished the game with 21 pts, and 8 rebs going 8/17 which includes 5 3’s made. Maybe owe some of that to the struggles of the Hornets to defend the three, but Green’s hot shooting was big for them to start the game. It brought momentum to the team to start and opened the floor for his teammates as well.
It’s impressive with a role player like Green having a resurgence with the Nets all throughout the year and would be exciting heading deep into the season what he has in store.
That’s all it is. The Hornets all throughout the year have struggled to defend the three against high-caliber teams. In this game, the Hornets gave up 20 3’s in a 44% clip versus their 13’s threes made. This wide margin of made baskets was of the attention the Nets brought into the interior that opened up their 3-point shooting. A big concern from me watching the game is the attention they have to commit to defending the paint. Bismack Biyombo and P.J Washington maybe not that reliable against tall and good front-court playing teams. The guards had to hedge into the paint most of the time which lead to easy passes from the opposing end.
We have to remember that this team is still young and a lot more room for identity and improvement. Regardless if they are the fourth seed in the east, a lot could be done by James Borrego and his staff to continue finding their groove and system going forward into a playoff push.
Nothing much could be said from the Hornets but on the Nets side, it was the “other guys” that were outstanding with their performance tonight. Key guards, Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown combined for 31 points going with an efficient 13/20 in the field. Tyler Johnson as well had a good shooting night going 5/7 in 3’s accounting for 15 points. As a thought, we usually are baffled at their stacked starting five heading into the playoffs. No one really takes a look at the firepower they have going off the bench. On a good shooting night, this team overall in the paper could demolish the East at their best without stars like Harden, Irving, and Kevin Durant doing most of the load.
With the return of Durant, this team when healthy is really scary for the rest of the league. I just hope as a fan we get to see a complete picture of what this team can accomplish when together.
The Charlotte Hornets take on the Indiana Pacers, Friday April 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 5 pm PST.
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