CHARLOTTE — For the first time, the Charlotte Hornets tipped off in the Spectrum Center Tuesday as part of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. It’s the first of its kind in league history, bringing with it a different energy, and “buzz.”
“You’re taking the best players in the world, and after you get through pool play, they’ll be playing in a single elimination tournament, which doesn’t happen in our league,” said Hornets head coach Steve Clifford.
The format includes all 30 NBA teams that have been split up into six groups of five. The Hornets fall into group “East B.”
Teams with the best record from each group, along with a wildcard from each conference, move on to the next round. The tournament concludes with an In-Season Championship in Las Vegas for the NBA Cup.
“There’s definitely a different buzz, a different energy,” said Hornets center Mark Williams. “You can tell people are playing for something.”
Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield expressed excitement over the new tournament for both the fans, and the organizations themselves.
“(Commissioner) Adam Silver and his team are always trying to think outside of the box on how our league can stay cutting edge, how we can create different ways to have our game appreciated by the masses,” he said.
“We’ve got another championship to play for. Anybody can win it,” Whitfield added.
The Hornets won their first tournament game this past Friday, while on the road against the Washington Wizards. They tipped off against the reigning Eastern Conference champions Tuesday night, facing the Miami Heat in the Spectrum Center in a 105-111 loss.
(WATCH BELOW: Hornets tip off regular season against Atlanta Hawks)
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