I am now prepared to argue that the Hornets have learned to play defense. The Bees picked up a startling 53 rebounds, led by Tyson Chandler with 15. (And after fouling out in the first game, Chandler was cooler tonight, getting called only twice.) And there was offense: five Hornets in double figures. There was just the faintest hint of Third-Quarter Drought, but a 12-2 run at the beginning of the fourth put the Hornets back in front to stay, spoiling the Pacers’ opening night in Indianapolis, 100-91.
Thirty-nine of those 100 points (and 19 of those boards) came from the bench, another indication that maybe this team actually has depth. And since Peja isn’t hitting the 3-ball he’s 2-9 so far this year it’s a good thing that Rasual Butler can still drain the occasional trey. (He had two tonight in the fourth quarter.)
And there’s this: against the Celtics last year, the Bees were 0-2; against the Pacers, 0-2. Personnel changes or no, I have to believe that there was some sense of payback out there. Moreover, last year’s Hornets won only 14 road games all season. Getting two early has to be gratifying.
Having ruined opening night for two teams now, the Hornets will have two opening nights of their own: Sunday in New Orleans against the Rockets, and Tuesday at the Ford Center against the Warriors.