Players Blog: Overtime Win, Playing Alongside Terry Rozier and Kemba’s Return

Different Hornets will continue to check in with hornets.com on Wednesdays this season for their 2019-20 Players Blog presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Keep checking back to see what they have to say throughout the NBA regular season. If you know someone who is a captain in the local community, visit hornets.com/bluecrossnc to tell us about them! They could be rewarded for their efforts with a VIP Captain for a Day experience presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina!

By Devonte’ Graham

What’s up, Hornets fans!?!?! We’re coming off that big overtime victory over Indiana last night and I’m definitely a little tired. My legs aren’t used to playing 40 minutes in the NBA!! Definitely a little tired, but I’m going to get some recovery work done and get some good stretching in.

It was a huge win for the team. We fought back and showed that fight in us. I feel like in every game, we’re getting better and better. The chemistry is getting there. I was happy and excited about the win, as I’m sure everyone else was.

Individually, I definitely couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. I didn’t know what to expect with the new role I was going to have this year. Like I’ve been saying, my coaches and teammates are giving me that confidence to keep going out there, shoot and stay aggressive. So, that’s what I’m trying to do.

We started out slow last night, so I tried to come in and be that spark off the bench – get guys going and talking, attack the basket, knock down those shots when guys find me open. I was trying to do those little things to help us get on a run. We got the crowd into it, because that helps us and gives us more energy. Last night, we rolled with it and just kept going.

One thing about us is that it’s not just one person that opposing teams have to lock in on. On any given night, it could be anyone of us. Like the other night in Golden State, it was Bacon. The night before that it was PJ and Terry. We’re just rolling off each other right now.

Coach Borrego keeps telling us he has to find five guys who play well together. Each day, he’s going to roll with the group that’s going to bring the energy. Terry and I playing together, I definitely like it a lot. He can play off the ball, I can play off the ball. I think it’s harder for teams to guard two point guards as easily – we have two guys that can make plays.

It’s great that things are starting to come together for us. It shows that the work we’ve been putting in and the different pieces we have are paying off. We went through training camp and worked on building chemistry each practice. We keep getting better and better every day, every practice and every game. It’s working out so far.

Lastly, we’re taking on the Boston Celtics tomorrow night and that means Kemba Walker is coming back. We still talk in a group chat. We’ve been texting and he’s been telling us ‘Good game,’ and stuff like that. We had dinner with him when we went to Boston in the preseason. We definitely have to try and beat him though! Can’t let him come in here and put up 60 on us like we saw him do last year! It should be fun though and I’m looking forward to it.

Bacon Talks Start of Season, West Coast and FSU Hoops

By Dwayne Bacon

We’re officially a week into the season! I feel like I’m doing pretty well defensively right now, but offensively, it’s not exactly where I want to be. There’s no rush though – it’s four games in and there’s 78 games left. That’s a long season and I feel like things will come. I just need to keep working and trust the work I’ve put in all summer. 

Our guys are really buying into what we’re trying to do this season. We played two of the best teams in the league already with the Lakers and the Clippers and we fought. Out of those eight quarters we played, we were right there in six of them. Guys aren’t satisfied though. We just have to amp it up and finish games, but we feel like we’re playing well and only going to get better. We’re a young team with a lot of young guys and we trust each other. Pretty soon, we should be getting more wins just by doing what we’ve been doing, trusting ourselves and playing hard. 

This is pretty early to have a West Coast road trip. It’s a tough test for us, but we feel like we’re holding our own. We didn’t get the wins that we could have gotten – it just came down to the fourth quarter in both games in Los Angeles. We just have to build on it. There were a lot of good things in those games. We have to come out here tonight in Sacramento, get out in transition, run, get stops and continue to play through everything. 

We have in our head we can beat anybody on any night. Within us, we know what we can do. We know each other and a lot of us have been working and playing together in Charlotte all summer. We’re comfortable with each other and now, trying to get everything locked in. We had some great games that we didn’t win, but that’s how it’s going to be this season for us. There’s going to be more games where we play great and get the W. We just have to learn how to finish and we’re going to keep competing all year. If we do that, we’ll get W’s just like we did the first game against Chicago. We just have to translate that to the rest of the season. 

It’s definitely fun getting contributions from everybody right now. As the season goes on, we’re probably going to need that all year. Guys know that we don’t have the same players that we had last year, so we just have to come out and keep competing and do what we can do to get wins. And that’s what we’re going to do. 

Lastly, I got to give a quick shoutout to a couple of my former Florida State teammates, Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele, who we played against on Monday night when we faced the Clippers. Those guys are great. Fi’ went from redshirting to a first-round pick and that’s amazing to see him get drafted. I came into Florida State with T and we were teammates (and roommates) for two years. That’s one of my best friends for sure. It’s amazing to see the guys you grow with through college and now see them in the NBA. It’s crazy. The Florida State alums in the NBA are growing every year and I think there’s only going to be more moving forward!

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