This story is part of ESPN The Magazines Oct. 31 NBA Preview Issue. Subscribe today!Charlotte HornetsOverall: 27 Title track: 104 Ownership: 54 Coaching: 42 Players: 37 Fan relations: 40 Affordability: 8 Stadium experience: 58 Bang for the buck: 18 Change from last year:?+56The buzz is officially back. In the second season since they reclaimed their bug-eyed identity from New Orleans, the Hornets finished with the highest win total (48) since pro basketball returned to Charlotte more than a decade ago. Their playoff run lasted but one round, but the future remains bright, and the teams jump of 56 spots from last year was the second-largest in sports.Whats goodThe Hornets missed out on being the cheapest ticket in basketball by a measly 40 cents (at $30.60 a ticket, theyre a hair more expensive than the Pelicans). But add $5 parking and a free program, and the Hornets are the best deal in the sport, especially considering they went 30-11 at home last year (good for a bang for the buck ranking of 18th overall and fifth in the NBA). Although the team still doesnt feature a true superstar, it does have Steve Clifford, who has pieced together a top-10 defense in each of his three seasons and has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the brightest minds in coaching (at 42nd overall, hes up 46 spots).Whats badThe on-court product is finally worth the modest price of admission, and the fan base has warmly embraced the return of Hugo & Co., but fans still arent convinced this team has a title in it (104th in title track). Twenty-two other NBA fan bases gave their squads better scores than the Hornets in expectancy to win a title during their lifetimes. Another blow to the Hornets fan relations and stadium experience (40th and 58th, respectively): The NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game over objections to North Carolinas House Bill 2.Whats newIn the summer of 2015, the Hornets took heed of the machine forming out in Oakland and loaded up on players boasting similar profiles: offensively skilled, versatile shooters. The resulting roster -- ranked 37th overall by the fans, up an astonishing 64 spots -- didnt place the team on quite the same fast track to a title, but this squad was right on the cusp of a breakthrough postseason before it squandered a 3-2 series lead to the Miami Heat. A 25-spot jump in stadium experience is in part thanks to a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard above center court that is both pricey ($7 million) and enormous (42.8 feet wide and 25.2 feet tall on the sideline, 31.3 feet wide and 18 feet tall on the baseline). The Hive will now be the biggest living room, likely, in Charlotte, Pete Guelli, the teams executive vice president and chief marketing officer, recently told the Charlotte Observer.Next: Boston Celtics?| Full rankings Ultra Boost Rebajas . The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling "puts an end to my dreams of being a top player," the 27-year-old Troicki said in a statement. "I worked my entire life for it, and it has been taken away from me in one afternoon by a doctor I didnt know," said Troicki, whose ranking peaked at No. Ultra Boost Baratas Online . -- Hunter Smith scored the winner with just 12 seconds remaining in the third period as the Oshawa Generals edged the host Sarnia Sting 5-4 on Friday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.ultraboostbaratas.es/ .ca! Hi Kerry, Its another day and here we are looking at another dubious hit to the head. In this case Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky elbowed Saku Koivu in the head about a second after he dished off the puck to a teammate, knocking him unconscious. Ultra Boost España Baratas . Duchene scored two goals and had an assist, helping the Colorado Avalanche beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Friday night to match the best 10-game start in team history. Ultra Boost Baratas Rebajas . -- Anaheim Ducks captain and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has been scratched from Sunday nights game against the Vancouver Canucks because of an upper-body injury. LOS ANGELES -- Gregg Popovich emerged from his first look at the revamped Los Angeles Lakers with enormous respect for the work of fellow coach Luke Walton.Popovichs veteran San Antonio Spurs also showed Waltons Lakers just how far theyve still got to go.LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points and Kawhi Leonard added 23 points and 12 rebounds in the Spurs fifth straight victory Friday night, 116-107 over the Lakers.Tony Parker had 16 points and seven assists for the Spurs, who improved to 7-0 on the road this season. Theyve won six straight over the Lakers, but this back-and-forth victory bore little resemblance to San Antonios regular demolitions of the Lakers over the previous few seasons.Luke has done a great job of making them believe and playing aggressively, and you can really see it, said Popovich, who earned his 1,099th win to pass Larry Brown for seventh place on the NBAs career list. They came back and stuck it to us. ... We got after it and executed better, but I am just so impressed with what (Walton) has done with this group.Pau Gasol scored 16 points in his first trip to Staples Center with the Spurs, who went 18 for 19 at the free throw line to hang on after the Lakers rallied late. Parker hit a clinching 17-foot jumper with 33.6 seconds left.Theyre talented, Parker said of the Lakers. They play hard for Luke. They play with great energy, and they have a lot of pieces. Now its all about chemistry and how theyre going to gel.Lou Williams scored 24 points and Nick Young added 20 for the Lakers, who played without injured leading scorer DAngelo Russell for the first time this season. Los Angeles still kept it close until the final minutes, when Aldridge and Leonard took turns hitting big shots before Parkers big bucket.We cooled off a little bit (in the third quarter), and they just continued to go, which is what they do, Walton said. The important thing to take away is how we come back from this, how we respond.BENCH CHARGEJordan Clarkson scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half while the Lakers rallied. Williams also came off the bench in another enormous game by the teams reserves, who lead the league in bench points per game.ddddddddddddTheyll need all that depth: The Lakers began a stretch of 18 games in 30 days with only their third loss in nine games.BIG RALLYThe Spurs blew an early 13-point lead, but took control in the third quarter while making 11 consecutive shots. San Antonio stretched its lead to 91-76 while scoring 39 points in the third quarter on 14-for-19 shooting, but the Lakers chipped it down to four points before succumbing.Last year, we would have been out of this game if we were down by that much, Clarkson said. Were out here to compete every night now. Were not OK with any loss.D-LO OUTRussell has a sore left knee, and the Lakers elected to rest their point guard out of caution. He wont practice Saturday, either. Walton doesnt expect the injury to be a long-term problem, although the Lakers brutal schedule over the next month wont help. The second-year pro leads the Lakers balanced lineup with 16.8 points and 4.7 assists per game.Jose Calderon started in Russells place, scoring five points while playing only 14 minutes.TIP-INSSpurs: Gasol got another warm ovation in Los Angeles, where he won two NBA championships as Kobe Bryants right-hand man in 2009 and 2010. The 7-foot Spaniard was booed late in his Lakers career, but has been welcomed back enthusiastically since his departure as a free agent to Chicago. ... Former USC big man Dewayne Dedmon has a sprained left knee and didnt make the trip with San Antonio.Lakers: Los Angeles recalled center Ivica Zubac from its D-League affiliate, but the rookie didnt dress for this game. ... Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram had a rough night. The No. 2 pick missed his first seven shots before finishing with four points on 1-of-9 shooting.UP NEXTSpurs: A weekend off and a visit from rival Dallas on Monday.Lakers: The homestand continues with a visit from Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. ' ' '