Well that does it. The Charlotte Hornets loss to the Toronto Raptors tonight was their final game of the 2014-2015 season, and what a year it was. A season that started off with so much hope, excitement, and potential for the future sadly fell well short of goals. The Hornets will not make the playoffs, they won't be competing for a conference championship, and no they will not pass go to collect 200 dollars.
As for tonight's game, it's really hard to take much out of it and predict how next season might go. Five players were injured, and four of them were players that at one point were expected to be the starting lineup. Injuries have plagued the Hornets all year long, and tonight was their worst case of them yet. Perhaps if the Hornets had something to compete for tonight there would have been a few more active players, but there was no point risking further injury in a lost season.
Noah Vonleh showed some flashes for the future, and what he might become, but he's clearly very raw and needs development. It should be fun to see him play with more minutes next year and see what the kid can do when the training wheels are off. He hit a 3-pointer tonight, and we already know he had a decent post game coming out of college so there's something to be excited for.
Okay, actual game action. The Hornets actually didn't look awful tonight. It wasn't good by any means, but they didn't embarrass themselves in a game they easily could have quit on. They made 12 3-pointers out of 33 attempts, which isn't exactly good, but it's better than what they've done most of this season. They finished shooting 42% from the field which is not good, but still not the worst thing in the world.
Their main problem was they just couldn't close any gaps the Raptors built. Once the Raptors reached a double digit lead in the third quarter, the game was essentially over. Charlotte was never able to close the gap any further than nine or eight points, and any time they did Toronto would just drill a shot and put them right back in double digit range.
Funny enough, it wasn't the Hornets offense that was a problem all night, but their defense. Toronto finished the game shooting 49% from the field, and all of their starters finished with positive shooting numbers. The Raptors showcased their top 10 offense tonight, and an injured Hornets team had no chance of stopping them.
Kemba Walker had an average game, finishing with 17 points on 15 shots, and only one make from 3-point range. Charlotte really needed him to have a big game if they were going to have any chance tonight, but he just couldn't find the shots he wanted without other major threats on the floor.
Funny enough, the offensive guy the Hornets turned too tonight was gunning Troy Daniels, and his 13 attempts from 3-point range. Daniels made six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points. Now, don't let the stat line fool anybody, because Daniels was gunning like a mad man anytime he touched the ball. Rarely did the shots he took feel like they were part of an offensive system, and he made a lot of bad shots. However, on a team as desperate for long range shooting as the Hornets, it might be worth keeping Daniels around to see what they can do with that kind of shooting ability.
And thus, the Hornets season comes to an end. It's had some highs, and some lows....and more lows...oh god so many lows, but it was fun! Basketball is a fun sport and we'll all remember the good moments of the season more than the bad ones, at least I will. Time to look towards next year, and see what Charlotte's plan is for the future.