The Charlotte Hornets came close to getting another victory over the Chicago Bulls, but they just couldn't make enough shots at the end of the game to get the win. They played smart basketball, but despite open looks they couldn't hit the 3-pointers necessary to tie the game in the closing moments. After Jimmy Butler hit a jumpshot, despite a good contest from Nicolas Batum, the Bulls lead was too much for the Hornets to overcome in five seconds.
Last time these two teams played the Hornets went bonkers from 3-point range, and they did more of the same tonight with 33 attempts from deep. They might have not shot 60 percent again, but a 45 percent clip is pretty good all things considered. Especially when looking at the the overall 37 percent shooting for the team. Charlotte didn't shoot the ball very well tonight overall, but they made up for it with the deep ball. That's why they play such a 3-point heavy style, and this is a case of that style keeping them in the game.
Of course, someone has to play well for Charlotte to be in this game, and the Hornets once again turned to Batum. Their offseason trade acquisition may have started off the season a little slow, but he's been on a tear lately and tonight was no exception. 28 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals was just the box score stuffer the team needed.
What the Hornets didn't need was the poor shooting was the poor shooting from their backcourt. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, and Jeremy Lamb all had pitiful shooting performances that they would very much like to forget. Lamb managed to make up for it by hitting a few shots in the fourth quarter, but Lin and Walker were never able to get things going for themselves tonight. To give the Bulls credit they managed to close in on the two guards before they could penetrate, and considering their styles that definitely messed them up a bit.
Sadly, it wasn't just the backcourt that struggled. Charlotte was missing Cody Zeller tonight, and they certainly could have used his energy. Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams, and Frank Kaminsky all struggled against the Chicago front court.
Kaminsky in particular had a tough time in his first opportunity with some real NBA minutes. He played an extended time, and he had some flashes, but it's clear the rookie is still trying to get things together. Hopefully he continues to get minutes however, because at this point the only way he's going to learn is by playing.
Despite all of these struggles the Hornets still found themselves in a close game late, and that has to count for something. Perhaps next time a few shots will fall their way and they'll be able to pull out the win.