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Rookies Playing Well

By Ryan Lemoine

Despite a close loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night, it looks as if the Hornets are making strides in the right direction. Coming into this past week they were 3-8 and the future did not look bright at all, as they had tough home games looming against the Phoenix Suns and the Atlanta Hawks. However, after beating the Clippers 110-102 on Tuesday night, the proceeded to take care of both conference leaders. On Thursday night, the Hornets took care of Phoenix 110-103. They were led by rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, as well as old-man Peja Stojakovic. To think that the rookies couldn't play any better was a misstatement, as both Collison and Thornton followed up with career-best performances Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Collison had his first career double-double with 22 points and 11 dimes, and LSU alum Marcus Thornton poured in a season high 21 points. These performances helped snap a seven game winning streak that Atlanta was on.

It's good to see both of these youngsters get a chance to shine under new head coach Jeff Bower, and it seems like the Hornets may have made the right move in letting Byron Scott go. Scott was never a proponent of rookies getting a lot of playing time, and was always quick to yank a rookie out after one or two mistakes. Bower seems to be letting them play through any minor struggles that they encounter, and this is adding confidence and maturity to two guys who will play a huge role in the Hornets future. With Scott still here as coach, these two young studs probably would not be getting the same experience.

I know that it is a long season, and a lot can happen in 82 games. However, to run off three straight wins against some good teams means a bunch to the Hornets. Judging by the way things were going, I thought that the Hornets could easily finish this week 3-12 instead of 6-9. The team is coming together, and all of this is happening without their superstar point guard Chris Paul, who is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle. The Hornets are showing that they can handle their business at home, now Bower just needs to get them to carry that winning mentality and intensity out on the road.

As for their upcoming schedule, the Hornets get a bit of a light schedule this Thanksgiving week. They host rookie sensation Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. After that, they get three days off before going back to Cali for games against the Kings and the defending champion LA Lakers. Two out of three would not be bad, but a guy can hope for another three in a row, can't he?