The Charlotte Hornets are 16-13 and more than a third through the regular season. I don’t know how good they are. But I like them.
What I know is that they have a leader in Kemba Walker, a very good player in Nic Batum, and have poise. Charlotte rallied from a 19-point deficit at Spectrum Center Tuesday to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 117-113.
The Lakers were outstanding early, missing nothing. The Hornets, meanwhile, kept digging. Walker shot well when he had to and scored 28 points. He also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
The Hornets are fun to watch, are well-coached and most nights look like a playoff team. Making the playoffs is great. Winning a first-round series would be considerably greater. They last won a playoff series in 2001-2002.
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To put 2002 in perspective, the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl that February. So maybe nothing changes. Or maybe everything does. The Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams. St. Louis sadly is no longer an NFL city, and the Rams are barely an NFL team.
▪ I don’t care how other adult males dress. But I like the outfit Carolina quarterback Cam Newton wore to the Washington game Monday night. Newton wore a checked suit, purple hat, and multi-colored shoes. Newton said it was a tribute to Craig Sager, the broadcaster who died last week after a two-year fight with leukemia. Sager was best known for his NBA work at TNT, as well as his clothes.
Newton acknowledged that he never met Sager. But he respects the statement Sager made with his apparel. Sager’s colors were loud and often appeared at war with each other. Sager had the confidence to wear them, and a willingness to have fun.
I spent a little time around Sager. His job was a big deal. But he never acted as if he was.
▪ Matt Moore is a nice guy, a kind of quiet guy, who loves to fish. He played for the Carolina Panthers from 2007-2010 and was going to be Carolina’s Quarterback of the Future. He finished 2009 strongly and became the starter in 2010. But he began the season poorly and he was replaced by Jimmy Clausen.
Not sure how Clausen spent last week. But Moore started for the Miami Dolphins. (Moore became the starter after quarterback Ryan Tannehill blew out his knee the previous week.) The start was Moore’s first in five years. Miami Matt threw touchdown passes of 64, 52, 1 and 1 yards in a 34-13 victory against the New York Jets. His quarterback rating was 126.2.
Moore, 32, has been a Dolphin since he left the Panthers. New York’s defensive backs obviously were biting (on play fakes and routes with multiple moves). Hope the fish are, too.