Nicolas Batum is a new man and the Charlotte Hornets are a new franchise. Michael Jordan's Charlotte teams -- both the Bobcats and the newly refashioned Hornets -- have never been a real threat, until now. The Hornets, who moved into second place in the Eastern conference with a convincing 99-81 win against Miami, are effectively playing a ball-movement West Coast style. And this year they have the personnel to make it work. The Hornets led the Heat by 30 at one point. Charlotte is finally the kind of team that can get -- and stay -- on a roll.
The Hornets can sting you different ways too. The latest win streak is taking place in the absence of center Al Jefferson, and it's driven by wing and guard play. Nicolas Batum, who hasn't become the household name many expected when Houston drafted the Frenchman in 2008, is playing like an All-Star. Against Miami Batum dialed up a workman-like triple double: 11 boards, 11 assists, 10 points in just 28 minutes. Kemba Walker scored 18 on 8-13 shooting. Charlotte had 27 assists on the night, against 17 for the Heat.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 10, 2015
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