Hornets’ Steve Clifford: People Who Say Just Watch NBA Fourth Quarters ‘Have No Idea What They’re Talking About’

The Hornets have been among the NBA’s biggest stories of the past week, and probably not even on purpose.Hornets coach Steve Clifford speaks to Nick Richards and Gordon Hayward

All they’ve done is win a couple of games while incredibly short-handed. It’s just that both of those wins have come against Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the struggling Mavericks.

And Hornets coach Steve Clifford will tell you the Hornets were able to get it done because of how they started, and not always just because of how they finished.

“The biggest part of the game again was the first quarter,” Clifford told reporters after beating the Mavs on Sunday. “Playing from ahead is a big deal.

“Every year the numbers bear it out, people want to say, ‘All you have to do is watch the fourth quarter,’ but they have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s anything but that.”

Charlotte is lottery-bound as it gets set to take part in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. They swept the Mavs without injured guards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, and instead started recent NBA castoffs Dennis Smith Jr. and Svi Mykhailiuk in the backcourt.

So they may not be the Mavs, at least on paper. But they’re beating them on the court. And perhaps that says more about the state of Dallas than Charlotte.

Either way, Clifford will tell you that a fast start to games can take you places, and based on the Hornets’ last two, that’s hard to argue.

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