The Hornets have hovered around .500 for a majority of the year, but they beat the No. 1 team in the West on Friday.
The Hornets have hovered around .500 for a majority of the year, but they beat the No. 1 team in the West on Friday. The Nuggets came to the Spectrum Center and fell short to a Charlotte team that had lost three straight. Hornets head coach James Borrego named a number of things that have held his team back recently.
“Every team goes through injuries,” Borrego said. “Last time we were whole, we had just beat Atlanta. The next game against Utah we get injured, and we’ve been injured the last three games. When this team has been whole, we’re a pretty good team. In the NBA, to win in the league you have to stay healthy.”
Denver left Friday’s game beaten up as Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Monte Morris appeared on the Nuggets’ injury report on Saturday. The loss Friday ended the team’s seven-game winning streak.
Injuries aren’t the only thing that has held Charlotte back, and Borrego said the team has been putting emphasis on driving and dishing to create open shots from behind the arc. The Hornets made 13 3-pointers on Friday, which was five more than the Nuggets in the 113-107 victory.
“We’ve been intentional about that. That’s not just by accident,” Borrego said. “We’re working on that, we believe in that and I think our guys followed up and executed our plan tonight.”
The bench showed up in a huge way for Charlotte. Frank Kaminsky, Malik Monk and Tony Parker all had double-digit scoring nights off the pine, and it helped Buzz City maintain its energy for the duration of the game. Kaminsky has seen an uptick in minutes lately, and he said Borrego has brought important notions from his time as an assistant coach with the Spurs.
“Something we hammered in practice was spacing the floor and making the next pass,” Kaminsky said. “In the Minnesota game we were getting good shots and good looks, but there were better ones available. We call it ‘good to great,’ and that’s what we were really doing well tonight. We were just moving the ball and finding the open guy.”
The Hornets are now 12-13 on the season and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte travels to New York on Sunday to face off with the Knicks.