Four takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets home victory over the Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 05: Dwight Howard /

The Charlotte Hornets improved to 6-2 at home as they defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 118-102.

Through three quarters the Charlotte Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves were in a back and forth battle with 20 lead changes and 14 ties. In the fourth quarter, Charlotte grasped control of the game and never looked back outscoring the Minnesota 34-22 in the final period.

Getting back to what they do best

Charlotte is a defensive team first and foremost, but over their six-game losing streak, they got away from that. The Hornets allowed teams on average to shoot 47% from the field, 39% from deep, and score 111 points per game. But over the last two games, they limited their opponents to 40% from the field, 25 % from deep, and just 94.5 points per game.

In the 4th Charlotte was dominant defensively, allowing Minnesota to only make 27% of the attempts.

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It wasn’t just the usual guys getting stops like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard or Cody Zeller. Michael Carter-Williams came in and provided great energy off the bench especially on the defensive side of the ball. Kemba Walker was out there playing very good individual defense on the perimeter and even stripped Jeff Teague on one of his drives, but he does tend to go under screens to frequently.

The return of “Bench Force One”

Eric Collins (the Hornets’ play by play announcer for Fox Sports) dubbed Charlotte’s bench “Bench Force One” back in the 2015/2016 season when they had Jeremy Lin and Al Jefferson coming off the pine. Back then Charlotte’s bench was 7th in the league in points, three-pointers made, rebounding, and blocks.

Charlotte’s bench hasn’t earned that moniker for full-time use this season, but they definitely deserve it for their performance versus Minnesota. They scored 52 points on 58% from the field, 50% from deep, grabbed 19 rebounds and dished out 13 assists.

After only managing to score in double figures twice in his last seven games Frank Kaminsky dropped 24 against the T’Wolves off the bench. Frankly (pun intended) the Hornets are a different team when he is making shots.

Cody Zeller continues to be the best backup big in the league as he scored 10 points and grabbed four boards while only missing one shot.

Jeremy Lamb has had to adjust to coming off the bench following the return of Nicolas Batum. He looked very adjusted as he put up 16 points in 21 minutes on 6 of 9 from the floor.

Monk lost his minutes

Malik Monk continues to play fewer minutes than fellow rookie Dwayne Bacon as Batum and Lamb have soaked up most of the minutes at the off-guard spot. He has had a difficult time shooting the ball shooting over 33% in just 5 of his 15 outings. We could see him have a stint in the G-League for a while.

Dwight likes being home

Dwight Howard is playing significantly better at home than on the road this season and he also seems to be happier and smile more when he is in Charlotte. On the road, he is averaging 11.4 ppg, 11.9 RPG, 1.4  BPG and is shooting 50.7% from the field and 36% from the free-throw line, but contrastingly he is averaging 17.8 PPG, 14 RPG, and 1.3 BPG while shooting 65% from the floor and 47.5% from the free-throw line at home.

Next: Hornets keys to 45 wins

The Hornets look to extend their winning ways to a third consecutive “W” as they take on the Washington Wizards in Charlotte on Wednesday, November 22, at 7 ET.