March 21, 2013
A season sweep of the Celtics, for the first time since the 2006-07 season. A road victory in Los Angeles, versus the Clippers.
Victory in Atlanta, over the Hawks; triumph in Chicago, at the expense of the Bulls; celebration in Memphis, over the Grizzlies.
Spankings of the Bucks, Spurs and Rockets, in the New Orleans Arena.
Playoff teams, each and every one of them, and proof positive that the Hornets, at given times this season, have balled with some of the league’s upper echelon. So while the search for consistency continues – and it’s been as elusive this season to find as Waldo – we understand that when the Hornets play to their potential, the kids have been all right.
When they haven’t, well, Coach Monty Williams calls it part of the “process.” And very little about the “process” is comfortable, mostly because comfort in sports more often is found in victory. And the Hornets, 23-46 with 13 games remaining, haven’t been able to comfort themselves in victory quite as much this season as we’d hoped.
The Hornets are 2-5 in their most recent seven games, with a victory over Portland to pair with the last-second win over the Celtics on Wednesday. But three of the losses were against playoff teams, and one was a road loss in which they lost a four-point lead in the final minute. That might sound like hollow consolation today but in seasons to come – if the team progresses the way it should – today’s losses will be reflective, times that will be reminisced about as the starting point of an ascent.
Beating Boston, especially, was a positive jolt not only because it was the Celtics, but also because it came two days after a 21-point home loss against the Warriors, when points were elusive and after which, it would’ve been understandable if confidence similarly had been evasive.
Instead, New Orleans got off the mat and on a night when Boston shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, held the Celtics to 33 percent field-goal shooting and 31 total points in the second half of an 87-86 win.
That’s big-boy stuff. That’s the stuff that’ll instill confidence and generate wins. It’s the stuff that we will come to expect of the Hornets, and that they should expect of themselves.