CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carry-on bags have been an essential part of life for the Charlotte Hornets throughout the season’s first five weeks, a necessity due to the massive number of road games dotting their schedule.
But that’s changing now.
“We have 11 games here in 24 days,” coach Steve Clifford said Wednesday night, “almost completely opposite of the stretch we just had. Eight of those are at home before we go on the six-game West Coast trip. I just think you break it down that way. And it’s about the same thing: we just need to win games and make progress.”
With Philadelphia missing three key players in Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, the Hornets’ date with the 76ers was the prime opportunity to do just that. They had won only once in their previous seven outings at Spectrum Center and their matchup against Philadelphia represented the perfect scenario to put the brakes on a five-game losing streak that extended all the way back to Halloween.
It took them a while to get going and look more like the team that wasn’t playing on consecutive nights, but the Hornets rode a solid second-half performance and knocked off Philadelphia 107-101 in front of a Thanksgiving Eve crowd of 16,910.
So, no, it’s not quite panic time just yet for the Hornets (5-14).
“Even though we are in a hole, it’s not so deep that we can’t play our way out of it with 60-something games left,” Clifford said. “Last year, there were not a lot of very good teams in the East. So there were more teams that had over .500 records. Now I would say it won’t be that way because everybody is pretty good and everybody is beating everybody up. So what we need to do, we need to have a good 24 days here, get better, win some games, get guys back and then see where we are at.”
Here are some takeaways from the Hornets’ slump busting victory:
Kai Jones keeps contributing
Patience is paying off for Kai Jones.