Since December 19, the Charlotte Hornets are 8-5. They’re averaging 97.4 points per game over that stretch — two points more than their season average — while limiting opponents to just 94.7 points per game — nearly five points better than their season average. This is particularly interesting because December 19 is the first game Lance Stephenson missed with the groin injury that’s still plaguing him today, and because the Hornets haven’t had Al Jefferson available to them in their last six games.
However, December 19 was also the first day that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played more than 30 minutes since he returned from a foot injury.
Before Kidd-Gilchrist went down, he was having a phenomenal season. His statistics, while decent, were underwhelming — 9.8 points per game on 62.5 percent shooting, along with 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23 minutes per game — but anyone who watched the Hornets closely knew that Kidd-Gilchrist had taken a massive step in his development. He was considerably more assertive on both ends of the floor and sported a confidence in his offensive ability that was unseen in seasons past.