Don't look now folks, but the Hornets are good

Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) with a dunk
Feb 14, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Nick Richards (4) with a dunk / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

What more can you even say at this point? The Hornets are a completely different team than they were a week ago and the fanbase has been completely rejuvenated. The Hornets are genuinely one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and they’re winning on the heels of their defense, of all things. Who are these guys!?

Wednesday night, they comfortably took down the 24-31 Atlanta Hawks 122-99 behind a dominant second half. This was the Hornets' third win in a row, their first three-game winning streak of the entire season. And they’re now a perfect 3-0 since adding Grant Williams, Seth Curry, Vasilije Micic, Tre Mann, and Davis Bertans to the rotation.

The new normal

It was those five, along with Miles Bridges, Brandon Miller, Nick Richards, and Cody Martin who led Charlotte yet again. Miller was outstanding, with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 3-pointers, and 3 blocks. He was great on both ends and played with the edge and passion of a veteran leader.

Tre Mann dazzled the crowd tonight with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. He poured in 4/5 three-point attempts as well as throwing down a loud dunk. He also had 2 steals and looks like he can be an impact player for this team. Grant Williams supplied a rock-solid presence on both ends yet again, with 15 points and 10 rebounds, along with solid defense all night.

Micic closed out the game at point guard yet again with some big plays and a calming presence, Curry and Bertans hit a few big shots off the bench, and Bridges, Richards, and Martin all had good two-way games in a very efficient manner.

The ball was moving around on offense, finding shooters, as they now have multiple strong passers and ballhandlers to set things up and create. With Williams and Richards, they also have great ability to play big or small and mix lineups constantly.

Winning with defense

But above all, it’s the defense. On the season, the Hornets are dead last in defensive rating with a porous 122.2. But in the last three wins, they’ve allowed just 106, 102, and 99 points. The last two were the two lowest scores they’ve allowed in wins all season.

The team has a lot of good defenders who can guard multiple positions, including guys like Williams who can be a presence inside and out. It’s been great to watch, and it should only get better as the players build chemistry and get acclimated to the system and schemes. It’s extremely exciting for a team that hasn’t been able to stop anyone in forever, let’s just hope it can continue.