Takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets’ home opening win over the Atlanta Hawks

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 20: Kemba Walker
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 20: Kemba Walker /

The Charlotte Hornets grab their first win of the 2017-2018 season during their home opener against the Atlanta Hawks, 109-91.

Steve Clifford’s side was able to bounce back from their season-opening loss to the Detroit Pistons as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks at home. Buzz City was alive for their first game of the season at the Spectrum Center. Here are five takeaways from the dominant showing:

Superman Returns

In my best Kenny Smith voice, “SUPERMAN IS IN THE BUILDING!” Dwight Howard looked like his old self on the court last night grabbing boards, protecting the paint, and finishing with strong dunks at the rim. He finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and one block though he altered many others just by his presence alone. I saw something in Dwight I haven’t seen in a while last night…joy, he always seemed to be smiling and just having fun out there.

On a down note, Howard did have a little trouble guarding Dewayne Dedmon as he stretched the floor at the Five position. Dedmon hasn’t been known as a shooter before this season having attempted only one in his entire career up to this point. It’s a small sample size but last season he did struggle against bigs that tend to pop more than roll off of screens.

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It’s hard to win games when you give possessions away. The Hornets had 10 turnovers in the first 15 minutes and were outscored 40-20 to that point. For the remaining 33 minutes, Charlotte had 11 turnovers, which is still a lot but a significant improvement, and outscored the Hawks 89-51. It wasn’t’ the turnovers alone the Hornets played well offensively in the second shooting 60% from the field and 50% from the three-point line, mainly because of Frank Kaminsky’s 15 point quarter.

It’s early and The Hornets were missing three key players in Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Cody Zeller. With more minutes going to young players and new additions, things are bound to start a little rocky but we saw both sides of Charlotte against the Hawks the good and the bad.

Frank Kaminsky

Frank looked great in the second and third quarter against the Hawks going 6/7 from the field and 2/3 from deep scoring 19 points in 16 minutes. Which was a nice bounce back nicely after his abysmal 1-9 game against the Pistons in the season opener. With Jeremy Lamb in the starting lineup, Kaminsky is the primary scorer off the bench and needs to keep up the good shooting.

Kaminsky needs to work on his post entry passes to Dwight. He passed the ball right too John Collins once as he fronted Howard. He hesitated too many times when looking to get Dwight the ball when he had good position down low allowing the defense to adjust. As the season goes on he should come more comfortable knowing where Howard likes the ball.

The Bench is Young

Charlotte’s bench consists of players with three or fewer years of NBA experience not to mention Dwayne Bacon in the starting lineup. If you don’t include Kaminsky (158 games played) and Johny O’Bryant (112 games played) those guys have only combined for a total of 82 games played.

Finishing Strong

This was an area of emphasis coming into the season as the Hornets consistently lost close games last season. In the fourth quarter, they shot just 33% from the field and 23% from three. Frank Kaminsky played the entire fourth quarter so he could have just been gassed. Marvin Williams didn’t play at all in the fourth as they played more of their younger players as they took full control of the game in the fourth quarter so inexperience is another reason for the poor finish.

Next: Keys to 45 wins for Charlotte

Charlotte and Atlanta will meet four times this season with their next affair coming on January 26th The Hornets will look to make it two wins in a row as they hit the road to take on the Milwaukee Bucks in their next outing.