There was something the Charlotte Hornets did in Chicago on Wednesday that's such a rarity it led to their coach jogging his memory.
"I don’t know when our last practice was to be honest," James Borrego said. "I guess (going back) to the All-Star break if you want to call that a practice you could call it our last practice. But it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for our group, for our guys. It’s not just our team. It’s everybody. But today was good just to get back in the gym."
"It was great to be out here with the guys. I know we’re on a back-to-back coming (up), but I just felt like we needed to be in the gym, just to be together."
Perhaps no one needed it more than Vernon Carey Jr. It's been a tough go for the rookie in his last two outings. After opening eyes in his first career start last Friday in Brooklyn with that 21-point performance, he's followed it up with two games in which he's totaled 10 minutes and gone scoreless, misfiring on all three shots.
Carey Jr. didn't even take an attempt in the Hornets' loss to New York on Tuesday and gave way to PJ Washington to start the second half. But Borrego hasn't completely given him the hook. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"I’ve got to give him the confidence to go out there and play," Borrego said. "We’ll do that again (Thursday) with him. I’ve got to take a look at Vern. We need him to grow and develop and these 15 games are important for him. So he’s got to feel that confidence from me."
Which is a good thing because the psyche of a rookie can be fragile.
"Obviously we started him against Portland and he picked up those couple of fouls and that set him back there," Borrego said. "Last night, I felt like we needed something early with PJ. We were having a hard time there at the start of the game and I just felt like getting PJ into the mix and getting him going. It work out in our favor. Obviously he came in, gave us huge boost and helped us build that halftime lead. I just didn’t feel to start that third quarter, going back to Vern, I just felt like we had some rhythm so I stuck with the lineup."
Again, though, Carey Jr. isn't headed to the bench.
"But I’ll go back to Vern (Thursday)," Borrego said. "I’ve got to get him some minutes and he needs to feel that confidence from me and our group that we trust him, we’re watching him. And he’s got to grow and develop for us to be a good ball club."