The Charlotte Hornets play the second of five exhibitions this preseason, tonight (7 p.m.) in Detroit. They will play these same Pistons in Detroit in the regular-season opener Oct. 18.
The game won’t be televised, but is available on radio on WFNZ-AM 610. Based on a 94-82 preseason loss to the Celtics in Boston Monday, four keys entering tonight:
▪ Jeremy Lamb’s performance: The coaches praised Lamb’s offseason effort and his focus on addressing weaknesses (defense, for instance). Lamb was the Hornets’ leading scorer Monday with 17 points, and those were an efficient 23 minutes – 6-of-10 shooting from the field and four trips to the foul line. Coach Steve Clifford envisions a bigger role off the bench for Lamb this season.
▪ Turnover trouble: Clifford’s imperatives have always been low-turnover and low-foul. The Hornets gave away the ball 19 times to the Celtics, which made it hard to set up defensively. Dwight Howard committed six turnovers and Frank Kaminsky five. Yes, that was just a first exhibition, but this must improve.
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▪ Malik Monk’s development: The 11th overall pick in the June draft shot 2-of-8 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range. But it wasn’t all bad; he demonstrated the energy and attacking style that made him a star his one season at Kentucky.
▪ Hit the boards: The Hornets were outrebounded by the Celtics 52-45. The thing that had to be particularly frustrating for Clifford was 13 offensive rebounds by the Celtics. This team isn’t strong enough offensively to overcome that many extra scoring chances for the opposition.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell