Here's what I took away from the loss.
Friday's Hornets looked a lot like last year's squad
It was déjà vu all over again, really. Friday's team reminded me of the 2014-2015 squad in almost every possible way. The team's defense, which for most of this season had slipped, returned to their strong form and held the high-scoring Cleveland Cavaliers to nearly 10 points below their season average. But, Charlotte's offense, which has grown by leaps and bounds this season, digressed in the fourth quarter into something similar to what we all experienced last year — disjointed and sloppy offensive possessions that often end in iso hero ball jumpers.
The Hornets, who had just four turnovers in the first half, had seven in the second and shot 1-of-14 from deep. Rebounding, arguably their biggest Achilles' heel and one of Cleveland's bigger strengths, slowly but surely became a bigger factor as the game went on. The Hornets gave up 12 offensive rebounds and were outrebounded by 12. Kevin Love had a double-double by halftime and finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds — and that is without playing the majority of the second half.
It's safe to say Steve Clifford was not happy postgame (warning: NSFW).
New contract has Cliff not worrying about the FCC. pic.twitter.com/3KhndslZH5— Daniel Guy (@danny_g13) November 28, 2015
Highlights even in defeat
It was not all bad for the Hornets. Far from it, actually.
First, with his four assists, Kemba Walker passed Baron Davis for fourth on the list of Charlotte's all-time assists leaders.
Second, Jeremy Lin came THIS close to adding LeBron James to his career highlight reel.
I'd like to imagine that had that gone in, the Hornets would have been declared winners via streetball rules where everyone rushes the court and yells "SHUT IT DOWN."
Third, Cam Newton showed up to the game in all Hornets everything — including a throwback Larry Johnson jersey — and even dabbed for the crowd. That was neat.
Additionally, Cody Zeller has officially taken over the role of 'energy and throw my body everywhere guy' this season from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo, and I love it so.
The Hornets proved they should be a force in the East
So, with all that I wrote before, with all that poor sloppy play and missed opportunities in the fourth quarter, Charlotte still only lost by five to the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers may have been missing Kyrie Irving, but that doesn't mean that Hornets fans should feel any worse about this loss. In fact, they should feel quite good — they played one of their worst offensive games this season and came this close to winning.