What’s The Buzz?: Hornets look to slow down hot Warriors

Steph & Dell via NBA.com

Steph & Dell via NBA.com

 

by Trace Walker

On Wednesday night, Stephen Curry, alongside his Golden State Warriors, will come home to Charlotte. The roots run deep for Steph in Charlotte, as he attended Charlotte Christian HS and nearby Davidson College. Basketball runs in the family as Steph’s father, Dell Curry, played ten seasons for the Hornets from 1988-1998 and is the current broadcast announcer for the Hornets. Dell is also the leading scorer (9,839) and has the most made three pointers (929) for the franchise.

The Warriors come into the matchup smoking hot and have showed no signs of slowing down in the early stages of the season. A youthful Hornets team look to slow down the oncoming train that is Golden State. After losing defensive anchor Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornet hopefuls believed the 2015 season would be yet another year of disappointment, but the young team has overcome adversity to start the year off 10-7. Led in scoring by guards Kemba Walker (18.4) and Nicolas Batum (16.8), the Hornets have seen a spike (and no I’m not talking about Jeremy Lin’s hair) in offense.

 

Many believed that the Hornets would lack offensive power but the team is ranked 7th in points per game (102.5). The defense was also expected to take a hit, but Charlotte is ranked top ten in opponents points per game.
The biggest thing to keep an eye out for on Wednesday night is the ability to hit shots from deep. In the past, being consistent from three for the Hornets was nearly nonexistent. However, this year the addition of shooters Jeremy Lin, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, and Spencer Hawes have completely revamped Charlotte’s offense. The Hornets are averaging nearly 10 three pointers made per game, which is four more than last year. No stranger to the three point line are the Golden State Warriors whom are leading the league in three point shooting with 13 made a game. At the head of the GSW three point attack is reigning MVP, Stephen Curry. Curry has dominated the league this year, putting up video game like numbers nightly; 31.9 PPG, 6 assist, 5 three pointers per game.
Although no team so far has found an answer to beating the Warriors this year, trying to slow down Curry can do nothing but help the Hornet’s efforts in knocking down last years champions. The job of guarding Curry will fall upon PG Kemba Walker, who will be greatly tested on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for their opponents, the Warriors have proven that they don’t need to rely on Curry to win as he has not played in the 4th quarter in four games this season. Golden state has found great production from the rest of its team. Last week, big man Draymond Green dropped back to back triple doubles, the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain to do such. The Warriors have also found double digit scoring from Klay Thompson (16.1), Harrison Barnes (13.4) and Draymond Green (12.8)
What the Hornets do have in their favor is their honeycomb court. At home, Charlotte has a clear edge and have gone 8-2 so far this year. The key for the Hornets in beating the Warriors is not found in one simple answer, but for their best chance to give Golden State its first loss, the Hornets must limit their turnovers, control the tempo, and force the Warriors to beat them from inside and not out. The Hornets will have to do without it’s big man, Al Jefferson. The low post star underwent a MRI on Monday and was diagnosed with a sprained left calf. Charlotte will miss the centers scoring (13.7) and rebounding (6.4), but it is expected he will make a return in two to three weeks.
With an injured Big Al, and a blazing hot Warriors team, the Hornets won’t have their work cut out for them. Hopefully Cam Newton, who was courtside at a recent game, left behind some of his winning ways for the Hornets. Tune into the game Wednesday night to see two young and energetic teams face off at 7:00 PM ET in Charlotte. The game is available for viewing on Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte and CSN Bay Area. You can catch it on the radio on stations KNBR 680 AM and WFNZ 610 AM. Also follow @BringBackTheBuz on twitter for updates on the Hornets and the Charlotte sports scene.

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Its Time To Rebuild The Hornets’ Nest

By Steve Kwon

When the Hornets’ last game came, it was a somber day. The shorthanded Hornets didn’t have much of a chance against the New Jersey Nets, anchored by Jason Kidd, that year.  When I first starting going to Hornets games, the Coliseum would be always packed to capacity. After the Nets eliminated the Hornets in the playoffs and sent them packing for New Orleans, the arena wasn’t even half full. But I was there. The people who came despite then owner George Shinn’s betrayal wanted to show appreciation for 14 years of unforgettable memories.

I was 14 years old at the time. Like many people my age, I grew up with the Hornets. My dad, a big Hornets fan as well, took me to tons of games. The team played its first game only months after I was born.

I didn’t start watching the Hornets until after Zo left. But after Glen Rice and Matt Geiger arrived in town, I became hooked. I started watching almost every Hornets away game on TV and everytime I see Mike Gminski and Steve Martin working a ACC game, I start feeling nostalgic.

I loved Super Hugo and of course, the Honeybees. Glen Rice or G Money was my first favorite player. Then it was Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn. Who could forget Baron Davis’ game winner against the Magic in the playoffs? Or Glen Rice winning the All-Star MVP award in 1997?

So many great memories. So much rich tradition. So much history.

But all of it was taken away and replaced by the……Bobcats?

I don’t feel like there could have been any name that could have replaced the Hornets, but the choice of Bobcats was horrendous. Obviously, former owner Bob Johnson named it after himself. Strike 1. As Charlotte Observer writer Scott Fowler points out in his most recent blog post, the Bobcats remind you of a middle school team. Strike 2. The Bobcats chose orange as its primary color and its logo looks like it was copy and pasted from a WNBA team. Strike 3.

When the Hornets were in town, I would guess that I would go to an average of ten games a year. I rarely go to more than than two Bobcats games a year, if any. I owned several pieces of Hornets apparel which included my coveted Glen Rice jersey, Hornets jacket and lots of T-Shirts. I own no Bobcats apparel at all and don’t plan to.

The emotional connection to the Bobcats isn’t there and won’t be there, even if the team starts winning games. I watched more games in the Bobcats’ playoff year, but even then I noticed something was missing.

It wasn’t the Hornets.

I think most Charlotteans share a similar sentiment. I really feel that if you took an honest survey and asked Charlotteans whether they would be more engaged with the local NBA team if the team’s nickname changed to Hornets, I would be confident that they would be. Interest would double, if not triple.

The Bobcats claim there is no indication that fans wanted a new name, pointing to a study done by Harris Interactive. However, there’s a catch. The name Hornets couldn’t be included in the study because New Orleans already had the name. So, it doesn’t prove much at all.

But we can come up with our own numbers. If the Beelievers can group together and fund a market research study that shows that a name change to Hornets would be profitable for the Bobcats, despite the $3-5M price tag, could the Bobcats really not do it if the name became available? If the Bobcats won’t commission another study that includes Hornets as a choice, we’ll try.

When Jordan bought the team in 2010, he told reporters he would change the Bobcats’ name if the public wanted it. Two years later, he has a great opportunity to back that up.

Our job is to show him and the rest of the Bobcats executives that Charlotte really does want this. This blog will be a medium in which we can promote the cause. If hundreds of people posted their own Hornets stories and why they want the name back, the Bobcats will notice. The blog will also share important updates for any significant events or news concerning the campaign.

If you would like to write a post for the blog, please email me at stvkwon@gmail.com with your name. I would like to put a different post on here every day if we can. Most likely, it will be a couple posts a week.

With rumors swirling that the new owners of the New Orleans Hornets will likely want to change the name, the time to strike is now. If we ever want the name back, we need to make our opinions heard now.

I wanted to be a part of this because I love Charlotte. Its a great city and I’m glad I moved back here after college. Even though we have the Panthers, I feel the Hornets helped to bring Charlotteans together like nothing else.

In the last week, people have started to get behind this campaign. On Facebook, we gained hundreds of ‘Likes’ in a few days. The same on Twitter. Former players like Muggsy Bogues aren’t immune either. Bogues, still revered in Charlotte, tweeted his support last night.

I look forward to talking and working with many of you to bring our Hornets back.

All we need to do is to BEE-LIEVE!