Back-to-backs are tough, especially when you have to travel. That's always the case, that's always been the case, and it'll always be the case. So it'd be hard to look at this game in the context of the entire season and be too disappointed about the Hornets' play.
At the same time, it really felt like tonight's game was their for the taking at many points during the course of the contest. The Hornets did have the lead at one point with only a few minutes left, and killed a 12-point deficit quickly around the turn of the fourth quarter.
Unsurprisingly, the entire starting unit looked exhausted for most of the night, and it showed on the scoreboard, with all the starters except Cody Zeller (who has quietly been a tremendous role player all season, although that's not a secret to Hornets fans) struggling to consistently hit shots. 24 hours after a great game for both Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, they played very poorly, minus a few timely shots (and it was only a few). P.J. Hairston looked much better on defense tonight than in previous games, but his shot still failed to regularly find the hoop. Marvin Williams was ice cold, making only one of his eight shots. Jeremy Lamb took until late in the third quarter to hit a shot. It was a rough game.
Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes had nice games off the bench, and Frank Kaminsky looked good while he was out on the floor, although you'd certainly hope that Kaminsky would have gotten more than one field goal attempt.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to learn about games like this-- the team was clearly exhausted and not playing like their typical selves. It was a close game, and it would have been really nice to win, but the actual result probably won't tell us too much about the team; it might just be one game harder to get to a higher playoff seed now.
Credit to guys like Walker, Lin, and Zeller for playing hard all game, but effort isn't enough in the NBA, especially when your effort capacity is diminished on account of playing two professional basketball games in two nights.