Four takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets blowout win over the Denver Nuggets

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 25: Frank Kaminsky
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 25: Frank Kaminsky /

A complete team effort helped lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Denver Nuggets as MKG made his regular season debut.

The Charlotte Hornets put on their best display of the young season last night with a 110-93 win over the Denver Nuggets. This was the first time the team was clicking on all cylinders throughout the entire game. This leaves for a couple positives to take away from the win.

Kemba Doesn’t Have to do All the Scoring to Win

In the win, FIVE Hornets players had 15+ points. Kemba had 19, second on the team behind Frank with 20.  

He still had a great night, but it was promising that the Hornets won so convincingly without Kemba needing 25 or 30 points. In fact, at the end of the first half whenever the Hornets had a 62-39 lead, Kemba only had five of those.

More from Swarm and Sting

Last season, if Kemba was struggling, the team was struggling. He will still be the team’s leading scorer for the year, but the emergence of other scorers has taken the weight off his shoulders.  

Whenever Kemba came out of the game, we all knew the scoring would come to a screeching halt. For the first few games this season, that was the case as well. However, the emergence of prolific scorers off the bench could change that.  

One in particular that I’ve already mentioned, will lead me into my next point.

Frank the Tank Looks Ready to Take the Leap

Over the offseason, I talked some about how Frank could be primed for a breakout year. After the All-Star break, he saw a bump up in scoring and seemed to have gotten the NBA figured out.

After the season opener against Detroit, I was dreading that he’d prove me wrong. It was just one game, but starting the season off with a 1-9 performance from the field (0-5 from three) and finishing with just four points, is a little worrisome.

In the three games since then, he’s been nothing short of fantastic. 21 points against Atlanta, 18 against Milwaukee, and 20 last night against Denver. Per the Charlotte Hornets official twitter, this was the first time in his career he’s scored 18+ in three straight games:

He’s knocking down those open threes he just couldn’t seem to hit previously. He’s putting his defenders on skates with clever spins and ball fakes. He just looks comfortable out there, similarly to his senior year at Wisconsin.  

Not to jump the gun, but Frank is making it hard to not think he will be second on the team in scoring.

Uptown Monk Has Come Alive

Three games into his young career Malik Monk hadn’t really had any great games yet. He looked to have struggled some with turnovers, but mostly he just couldn’t get open shots to fall.

Monk was shooting just 18.2% from the field headed into last, but he finally had his breakout game. He shot 7-14 from the field and totaled 17 points. The dunk he had after blowing past Emmanuel Mudiay at the end of the first half certainly helped to hype up the crowd as well.

We knew it was only a matter of time until the shots started falling. Home at The Hive, and in front of his former coach John Calipari, he may have picked the perfect time.

Hopefully, no fans were panicking after the first few games. If they were, this performance from Monk should satisfy them.

MKG May Not be Back to Full Minutes For a Few Games

After having a week and a half off due to his grandmother’s passing, MKG was back last night. Going into the night, Clifford said he would restrict him to 6-7 minutes each half, and he stuck to that.

In his 11 minutes, MKG shot 1-6 from the field and finished with two points. Probably not the ideal first game back for MKG, but it was good just seeing him get shots up. They’ll start falling as he gets back in his groove.

Clifford hasn’t specified if/what the minute restrictions will be for MKG next game, but I doubt he will be fully unleashed. During the game, Dell Curry, a former Hornets legend himself, said it only takes two days to get out of NBA game shape. MKG had a week and a half off. No matter how much he practices, he will have to be eased back into playing in an actual game.

In his short time playing he looked energetic and even dove on the floor for a loose ball. Once he’s back to playing fully, expect the same hardworking MKG we are used to seeing.

Next: Dwight Howard is exactly what Charlotte needed

I can think of mostly only positives coming from the performance by the Hornets last night. Let’s hope they can keep this rolling into Friday’s matchup against the Houston Rockets.