They say basketball is game of runs. Well it's supposed to be a game of runs until the team that ended the game on a positive run totally ruins any chance they had at a win with being a horrible offensive team. The Charlotte Hornets stink on offense and it's honestly impressive how much they stink on offense.
The game started off pretty normal with the Hornets struggling on offense and the Washington Wizards unable to really run what they wanted to do. It was a slog at times, and Washington dominated most of the first half, but Charlotte managed to go on a big scoring run to end the first half and finished the second quarter with 35 points.
After that it really felt like Charlotte was gonna have a chance to win this game. They came out in the third quarter on fire with an offense that, while not amazing, was just good enough to work with their usual great defense. Al Jefferson was carrying the team and everything appeared to be going Charlotte's way. That was until Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injured his ankle on a layup. He stayed in the game at first, but later when coming off a pick he re-aggravated the injury and was forced to limp back to the locker room. He was listed with a left ankle sprain and did not return. Charlotte led going into the fourth quarter, but they were going to have do it without their best perimeter defender.
Things started off bad for Charlotte, but not in the way one would expect with MKG going down. No, the offense is what fell off a cliff as Charlotte started the quarter missing their first 11 shots, and the Wizards jumped out to an 88-82 lead. Once again, it felt like the same old Hornets blowing a lead, and to make things worse they were without one of their best players.
Except that's not what happened, because the Hornets managed to turn things around. It's a game of runs, and the Hornets went on their run at the perfect time playing amazing defense, and using that to pole vault their offense to a late game lead. All they had to do was make free throws and the game was over.
And that's where everything became awful. The list of mistakes is almost comical, but lets start off with Steve Clifford. As a defender of him throughout the season, and even to this point, I think he's been far too harshly criticized by fans this year in an injury filled season, and that people are far too quick to demand he be fired for one rough season, and completely ignore his major success from last season. But by god, why did he put in Jeff Taylor, a 55% free throw shooter this season, at the end of the game when the Hornets needed to make free throws? I understand wanting your best defenders out there, and MKG was injured, but you have to go with Lance Stephenson, or some other combination here. The Hornets gave up a 3-pointer to Rasual Butler, and for some reason Taylor ended up with the ball on the inbounds. Taylor hadn't played all game, he missed a free throw, and that began one of the worst streches of play the Hornets have had all season.
John Wall hit a game tying two pointer, because he's an insane basketball playing robot, and now the game was tied. Of course, the errors didn't stop there. No, following Wall's shot the Hornets continued their season of being the worst team ever at running plays out of bounds with a HORRIBLY executed, and designed, play that ended with Mo Williams hucking up a horrible 3-point shot. Overtime.
First overtime, oh yes there are two overtimes. The Hornets play much of the same from the fourth quarter. They hit a shot here and there, the offense is pretty bleh, the defense is bad, same old same old. Then, when it came to clutch time, the offense forgot how to function. They couldn't take a good shot, get a good look, or do anything that was positive. Once again, the Wizards tied the game, and the it was up to an out of bounds play to give the Hornets a chance at winning. This one was SLIGHTLY better. It was the same play the Hornets ran last year against Toronto, but Kemba Walker didn't get the ball in time, and Marcin Gortat was waiting for him. There wasn't enough time on the clock to get a good look and so it was time for second overtime.
The Hornets are a stinky basketball team that doesn't play well in clutch situations. The offense in the second overtime was some of the most poorly ran, poorly executed, and horrible basketball that has ever graced a television set. Late plays into the shot clock that involved a lot of standing and dribbling, followed up with contested 3-pointers bricking, and then this is when fans lost their mind. It was Steve Clifford's fault, it was Mo Williams fault, it was Kemba Walker's fault it was this person, this person, this person, this person, NO. IT WAS EVERYBODY'S FAULT. The only excuse this team gets for the second overtime performance is that they had tired legs, but why did the Wizards look so much more energized? Can't somebody go out there and create a bucket for someone else? Set a screen? Run some pick and roll? Get open? Give a more of an effort? The plays that Clifford designed out of timeouts were horrendous, Mo Williams was gunning to his hearts content with minimal results (HE TOOK 26 SHOTS), Kemba couldn't find a single open man with a pass, or create for anybody, and Al Jefferson couldn't get his big body down low and settled for long two's. It was horrible, awful, and just infuriating to watch the second quarter come to a close and see everybody play terrible.
So go ahead and comment with whatever person you want to blame for this loss, let the hot takes flow. Fire Clifford, trade Lance Stephenson, get rid of Kemba Walker, tank, etc, etc... they've all been yelled at this point and it's just silly. The Hornets as a team lost this game with pathetic offense that looked like a college basketball team. Everybody deserves blame, and it's all deserved.
The Hornets are probably going to miss the playoffs, because there's no reason to believe they won't play like this again. They've done it before, tonight was just their latest example, what's gonna stop them from repeating this performance at a later point?