The Charlotte Hornets were defeated in their first game of the season against the Detroit Pistons, but bounced back with a win against the Hawks on Friday. With Friday’s win, the Hornets’ record improves to 1-1 in this new NBA season.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18
The Hornets went into Wednesday’s game looking to play the spoiler in Detroit. The Pistons, who have struggled over the past few seasons, made a few moves in the offseason, most notably the acquisition of defensive specialist Avery Bradley from the Boston Celtics. The game was also the first at the new Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit, with Detroit celebrity Eminem making an appearance pre-tipoff. During the game, Charlotte’s University of Connecticut backcourt of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb really got it going, leading the team with 24 and 15 points respectively. Dwight Howard also impressed in his first game with the Hornets. The big man finished with 10 points on 5-9 shooting, grabbing 15 rebounds in the process. First round pick Malik Monk looked nervous in his first NBA game, going 1-9 shooting, finishing with only three points. Notably absent from the game was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed the game due to personal reasons. Tobias Harris of the Detroit Pistons stole the show Wednesday night, finishing with a game-high 27 points. The Pistons won comfortably by the final score of 102-90.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20
After taking the loss in the first game of the season, the Hornets were looking to bounce back in their home opener at the Spectrum Center. Their opponent was the Atlanta Hawks, who may be in the running for the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Howard starred against his former team, almost looking like his former All-Star self, putting up 20 points and grabbing another 15 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games. Walker led the game in scoring with 26 points, dishing out 9 assists as well. Third year pro Frank Kaminsky, who was moved to the sixth man role after the Howard trade, was lethal off the bench, scoring 21 points. For Atlanta, point guard Dennis Schröder led scoring with 25 points, but a severe lack of bench production (29 total points off the bench), doomed the Hawks. The Hornets got the big win in their home opener, with a final score of 109-91.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dwight Howard earns player of the week honors thanks to his rebounding clinics. The 6’11 center grabbed 15 rebounds in both games, also scoring in double figures in both games. The 31-year-old has had a rough time the past couple seasons in Houston and Atlanta, with performance and character issues making the headlines. Howard hasn’t been the same player since he left the small market of Orlando for the bright lights of Los Angeles, where Kobe all but broke his spirit and motivation. Returning to a smaller market in Charlotte could be exactly what Howard needs to regain some of the energy and pure delight with which he used to play the game of basketball when he played for Orlando.
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