In the NBA, Opening Night is always special, it’s a time that many teams put last season behind them and look ahead to the challenges ahead if they want to win that championship, and for teams that want to start 1-0. For the Charlotte Hornets, their focus entering last night’s game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee was to get off to a good start and come away 1-0. That goal was met, and they achieved it thanks to a 107-96 win over the Bucks, and here are some of my three takeaways from last night’s game.
GETTING OUT OF THE GATES EARLY: They did it with a solid start in the first half of play, as they jumped out to an early 32-24 lead in the first half, eventually growing to a 15-point advantage by halftime, with much of the scoring coming courtesy of Kemba Walker, who had 12 first half points along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist(11 points), who we’ll get into later, Cody Zeller(11 points) and Marvin Williams(10 points). These three would contribute early and often to the win for Charlotte, which was one of the many positives Hornets head coach Steve Clifford liked what he saw in last night’s victory for the boys in Purple and Teal.
BIG ROY, BIG DEBUT: This past off-season, Charlotte wanted to improve on it’s presence in the middle, and they would get it in Roy Hibbert, who had himself a strong debut in the win for the Hornets, going 6-of-9 from the field to finish with 15 points, along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 blocks in the win, and some say that Hibbert’s signing was a strong upgrade from Al Jefferson, and in my opinion, Roy wants to do whatever he can to help the Hornets get better this season, and his performance last night was something to watch and we totally hope he can continue his strong play in the early stages of this 2016-17 season.
MKG IS B-A-C-K: The big story of last night’s game was the much anticipated season debut for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who would have a lights out night for the Hornets in this victory, leading the way with 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field to go with 14 rebounds to carry the load. Last season, MKG only appeared in just 7 games before missing the rest of the season and playoffs, and this season, Hornets fans are hoping that he can stay healthy and play well each evening if the Hornets want to contend in what may be a competitive and tough Eastern Conference this year.
Next on the agenda for the Charlotte Hornets, a Southeast Division with the Miami Heat, who went through a drastic makeover this off-season, in a rematch of last year’s epic first-round playoff series, in which Miami won 4-3 over Charlotte, tomorrow night at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami with an 8:00 p.m. start time, before coming back to Charlotte for the home opener against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at Spectrum Center.