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Charlotte Hornets need to play smarter brand of basketball
104-98 loss to Miami drops Charlotte to 10-18
Published Friday, December 15, 2017 10:09 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

The Charlotte Hornets need to play smarter, not harder.

A 104-98 loss to Miami Friday at Spectrum Center put interim head coach Stephen Silas 2-5 since taking over for Steve Clifford on Dec. 4. His depleted options leave him little choice in terms of rotation during Clifford’s absence.

Charlotte (10-18) gave up 19 points off turnovers against the Heat. They’ve given up 39 points off turnovers over their last three games.

“We’re not slacking. We’re…playing hard,” Silas said. “Some of those turnovers were not smart. We’re trying to get the ball to Dwight [Howard], and we’re making a concentrated effort to do that, but some of the passes that we tried to make to him tonight were not good, and they ran out, and got in transition. So part of it is playing smarter, but part of it to me is also making shots. If we would have made some big shots tonight, we would have had a better chance.”

Howard said earlier in the season his purpose is to erase teammate’s mistakes. His 682nd career double-double – 15 points and 16 boards – did not produce a single turnover against the Heat  (14-14). Despite aggravating a left wrist sprain when he fell in the second quarter, point guard Kemba Walker led the team with 25 points, five assists and four rebounds. He and Howard have played at an All-Star caliber.

“[Walker] just nodded to me, and walked back [to the athletic trainer],” Silas said. “I got Michael Carter-Williams and put him in the game. I knew that [Walker] had been hurting, and I saw that he had fallen down. There was no talking to or anything. He just went off, and the trainers took care of him.”

Charlotte lacks a leadership presence in the second unit without center Cody Zeller (torn left medial meniscus in his left knee). To compensate, guard Nic Batum, who missed the first 12 games of the season with a sprained left elbow, saw significant time with Charlotte’s second unit as well as with the starting rotation. He played 37 minutes, tallying 10 assists and five points.

“Tonight I had Nic on the floor with the second group quite a bit, and he was able to facilitate a bit better,” Silas said. “He had 10 assists, and that’s something that I’m going to have to tinker with, because there is a stark difference between the starters and the reserves.”

Said Batum: “Kemba said after the game, ‘we’re right there. Every time, we’re right there.’ We’ve been the same the last two years. We have to find a way.”  


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