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Hornets' goal: Take, and convert, more three-point opportunities
Charlotte aims for efficiency behind the arc
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 10:49 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

The Charlotte Hornets have to improve beyond the arc to achieve sustainable success.

They’re 26th in the NBA with a three-point percentage of 25.8 percent. Their ideal target would be above 40 percent.

“We want to shoot 27, [and] 12-13 would be a good number for us to make,” coach Stephen Silas said following their 99-88 win Friday against Utah. “Obviously tonight we were just 9-for-27 [33 percent], but it’s the attempts as well, because the attempts spread out the defense, give you opportunities to drive the ball, make you more of a threat on the perimeter. So when you’re not shooting quite as many threes, it’s a lot easier for them to pack it in and make it hard for you. I was proud of our 27 threes tonight, although we only made nine. We’ve got to do a little bit better.”

While the Hornets rely on point guard Kemba Walker to get their three-point game going, results from range comes with guard Nic Batum and forward Marvin Williams hitting shots. Walker was 4-of-6 against the Jazz for 22 points, his 22nd game of the season with 20 or more points, and his 25th with multiple threes. Williams went 3-of-8 for 15 points, and Batum was 1-5 in scoring 11 points. Forward Frank Kaminsky provided bench’s only three.

“The way that Kemba gets his threes is off the dribble,” Silas said. “He doesn’t get threes mainly off the catch or somebody driving and kicking to him. So those other guys, when we’re able to go downhill and get the rolls that Dwight [Howard] got today, or the passes, we really did a good job when we were rolling and finding the weak side tonight, and getting some open shots on the weak side. Marvin and Nic are very important to getting that 27 number, as well as [Jeremy] Lamb and Kemba.”

Said Williams: “When guys are making shots, it always helps. Dwight was drawing so much attention tonight with his pick and roll game. I was the beneficiary of that.”

Not only was their win against the Jazz the first home win of 2018, but it was also the first for them when they did not score 100 points. The result’s defensive tone resembled that of their coach Steve Clifford, who has been on a month-long medical leave due to severe headaches. The team announced Thursday that Clifford had been cleared to return on Jan. 16.

“He’s on his way back, so we’ve got to start playing in a way that he’d be proud of, and I’m sure he’s proud of the way that we played tonight,” Silas said. “Scoring 99 points, I was looking up at the scoreboard, and I knew, we were like [0-11] or something when we don’t score 100 points. It was good to get the win, especially by double figures. We only scored 99 points.”

Said Williams: “You’ve got to tip your hat to your defense.”

Batum added: “To know he’s coming back, to know he’s feeling better, that’s the biggest stuff.”

Charlotte sits third in the Southeast Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference at 16-24. They host Oklahoma City Saturday at 5 p.m.

“We’ve got to capitalize,” Walker said. “We struggled for a little while, but I think we’re starting to find our groove a little bit shooting the basketball. The more threes we can take and make, it’ll help us.”



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