It was the best game the Charlotte Hornets have played so far this summer league. It still wasn’t good, but it was much less terrible. The lights were about as bright as a summer league game can be with number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama in the building, and the Hornets acquitted themselves pretty well.
The Hornets spent most of the game trying to overcome a low double figure deficit, but they never mustered up the offense to go on any significant runs. They defended better, so they kept the Spurs from completely running away with it, but they didn’t have the juice on the other end of the floor. They made a little bit of a threat in the fourth quarter when a Brandon Miller three cut the deficit to three, but a Victor Wembanyama 4-point play quashed any of those hopes.
Brandon Miller caught a lot of heat for his recklessness and lack of aggressiveness in the Hornets’ first two summer league games. He answered those concerns with only two turnovers and “only” five fouls, which is an improvement over the eight he had last game. More importantly, he attempted 15 shots and got to the line six times. The shots didn’t fall the way you’d like, but you expect that to come in time. He showed off a slick handle, putting Wembanyama on the floor at one point.
He had a strong defensive showing as well. He registered three steals and a block and mostly positioned himself well defensively. He made some waves stymieing a Wembanyama post up attempt.
The reason everyone watched this game was for the Miller/Wemby showdown. Despite the less-than-efficient shooting effort, Miller took that battle pretty handily. Wemby finished with just 9 points and 8 rebounds shooting 2-of-13 from the field. He did have five blocks, so he was an impact defensively, but he looked very uncomfortable on the offensive end. He got stripped more times than his three turnovers would suggest and frequently got knocked off balance. The performance should have Hornets fans breathing a little easier about Miller’s start to the summer league.
James Bouknight had a very good second half after a first half that had people on Twitter talking about cutting him and his future career overseas. He scored all 14 of his points in the second half on 6-of-12 shooting. He was active on the glass all night as well.
Bryce McGowens put in a steady 15 points on 12 shots. He was aggressive attacking the basket and did a good job drawing contact. The rest of the floor game was pretty sparse, but the scorer put the ball in the basket.
Kai Jones had the highlight of the night with this dunk over Wembanyama.
Definitely better than Julian Champagnie’s dunk over James Nnaji that we’ll pretend never happened.
It sounds like a broken record at this point, but the guard play and offensive cohesiveness as a whole still wasn’t good enough. The Hornets finished with a whopping 10 assists on 23 made baskets compared to 20 assists on 26 made shots for the Spurs. Most of those Hornets assists seemed to come in the open floor while the half court offense was largely one action followed by an isolation shot attempt.
The Hornets made just five out of 32 3-point attempts in a touching tribute to the 3-point shooting of the big club last season. Bouknight and Miller were the only two players to make a three with the rest of the roster going 0-of-12 from behind the arc.
The Hornets host the Lakers for a Sunday matinee.