There is never only one reason for a loss. It'a always multiple factors that build up to the ultimate conclusion. That said, if the Charlotte Hornets had stopped turning the ball over tonight then maybe they would have come out of this game with a victory over the Washington Wizards. Instead, they ended with a 109-101 loss to a division opponent, and a bad one at that.
The Washington Wizards have not been a good NBA team this season. Quite the opposite actually. Washington came into this game missing key players in Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr while being one of the worst teams in the NBA at defending the 3-point shot. Their transition to a team that plays small has led to a major drop off on defense, and the offense wasn't exactly making up for it. This is a game that Hornets should have won.
Instead, Charlotte played very sloppy and let John Wall beat them. The Hornets are are the best team in the NBA when it comes to turnovers, averaging 12 a game, and that's a huge part of why they've been successful this season. Tonight, the Hornets stepped away from character and finished with 17 turnovers. Multiple times throughout the game Charlotte put themselves in a hole with turnovers, and then had to spend most of the game erasing deficits Washington created.
Of course, this might have been a little easier for them had they not been going up against a superstar in John Wall. Washington may be struggling this year, but Wall is just as good as ever and made the entire Charlotte backcourt look silly with his incredible passing ability. He finished with 27 points and 12 assists in a dominating performance. This was one of those games where not having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to throw on the opposing team's point guard was sorely missed, but the way Wall was playing even that might have not mattered.
To add on to the bad play, the Wizards had perhaps their best defensive performance of the season holding Charlotte to 41 percent shooting from the field, and keeping key scorers like Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, and Nicolas Batum below 50 percent from the field.
Despite all of this, the Hornets found themselves in a one point game late in the fourth quarter with time to take the lead and steal a win in a pretty bad performance. Unfortunately for them, Wall hit a huge jumpshot then Kemba Walker turned the ball over out of a timeout. From that point, Charlotte never recovered and Washington cruised to a win.
In most cases, a bad game like this would be written off as just a performance in the middle of a very long season. However, the Hornets haven't been playing well the last few games and this is starting to become a concern. Ever since the game against Boston the Hornets have been fighting back from deficits, or giving up leads late like they did against Toronto. Right now, this feels like nothing more than just a slump for the team, but it's something worth keeping an eye on as the season continues.