The Charlotte Hornets, who were again without injured Center Al Jefferson, cruised to victory tonight 99-81 against the Miami Heat. The result came from strong performances by Kemba Walker and Marvin Williams, who both scored 18 points. Nicolas Batum chipped in 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists for the teams’ first triple double this season.
Through 20 games, Nicolas Batum has been averaging 17.0 points, 6.6 boards, 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Only three other players in the NBA are averaging at least 15 points, six rebounds, four-and-a-half assists and one steal in 2015-16 (James Harden – HOU, LeBron James – CLE and Russell Westbrook – OKC). Batum has logged 4 double-doubles this season which is the second most among NBA players considered shooting guards so far during the 2015-16 campaign.
The Hornets finished the 1st quarter with a 10 point lead and never looked back, increasing their lead to as much as 30 points. This convincing win was made possible by great 3-point shooting and swarming defensive play leading to 18 Heat turnovers.
In 2015-16, the Hornets are averaging the most points per game at home in the Eastern Conference with 105.0, the most three-point field goals per game with 10.2 per contest, and the third best winning percentage at home with a record of 9-3 (.750).
With the win the Hornets have won 3 straight games and would have the #2 seed if the Eastern Conference Playoffs started today. The Hornets will take on the Memphis Grizzlies (away) this Friday.
-Tony Stanford Jr.