Hornets Got Torched by the Heat with No TeamBall and Defense; Shaq Said Lin Needs Double-Figures for the Hornets To Win
The bad news from the 32pt Hornets 91-123 loss was the rude awakening by the experienced Heat team that the type of (no) defense and no (teamball) should never be displayed again. The good news is the game was mercifully over.
Jeremy Lin played well in his limited role as the 3rd playmaker behind Batum and Kemba to finish with 9P3A2R(2/4 FG) in 25 min. He displayed his playoff experience by driving inside and baited fouls to draw FTs (5-6) efficiently. Oddly he had the team high 3 assists, more than a combined 2 assists from Batum and Kemba.
The Hornets were completely overwhelmed by the Heat:
1. No defense
Hornets got outrebounded 28-42 by the Heat. All season long, the Hornets big men were unable to rebound well and they were no match for Hassan Whiteside who had 21pts/11rebs with 9-11 shooting. The Heat overpowered the Hornets with 14-7 offensive rebounding advantage. Will Coach Clifford call Tyler Hansbrough to counter with toughness and rebounding? Or he will wait until the Hornets are down 0-3?
2. No TeamBall
The Hornets had much fewer assists 11-27 than the Heat. This was more than Luol Dieng, Whiteside, Wade getting hot shooting but they played as a team. Dragic and Wade combined for 17 assists while Kemba and Batum combined for a measly 2 assists (in 32 min and 40min). Lin finished with a team high 3 assists in 25 min. Batum would need to play like the primary facilitator and not for the upcoming Free Agency. Kemba needs to trust that ball movement would help to get a win.
3. Bad Starter Lineup
Hornets starters were outscored in a combined 27-45 in 1st and 3rd quarter before any substitutes came in.
(15-28 in Q1 & 12-17 in Q3). Will the starting lineup change? Possibly not until Hornets are down 0-2 or 0-3. But the Hornets desperately need a reliable big man who can slow down Whiteside inside. Will Clifford try Big Al or Tyler Hansbrough? Only time will tell.
Jeremy Lin would need to be more involved in the Hornets offense as the main playmaker because he can help the Hornets to play an unselfish team-ball by finding open teammates and facilitating ball movement. Shaq O’Neal also indicated that Lin would need to be in double-figures (10+pts) for the Hornets to win.