Despite strong performances from Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb, the Charlotte Hornets struggled on offense for most of the game, and would lose to the Los Angeles Clippers 97-83. Lin would lead the Hornets with 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting, to go along with four assists and four rebounds. Lamb would finish with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Clippers started red hot, with J.J. Redick making his first three from behind the arc. The Hornets struggled to defend Redick off screens, though this would improve as the game went on. After the first quarter, Los Angeles was shooting 50 percent from the field, while the Hornets shot just 30.
The second quarter started fairly well, as Lamb and Lin helped cut the deficit to just three points. A string of points by Jamal Crawford extended the Clippers lead to seven, but then Spencer Hawes got going after a poor first quarter, getting to the foul line, hitting Lin on a backdoor play, and knocking down an open 3-pointer. The starters would enter back in, and manage to tie the game with just under five minutes remaining in the half. The rest of the half would be a back and forth affair, and the Hornets would lead 46-43 at halftime, with Lamb and Lin combining for 22 of the team's 46 points.
Charlotte's offense completely stalled in the third, and they wouldn't score their first field goal until 4:36 left in the quarter. Lin tweaked his right ankle, but would return. He would deliver late in the quarter as well, scoring seven straight points. Despite only scoring 18 points in the third, the Hornets only trailed by six heading into the fourth.
Lin's heroics would continue in the fourth, but the Hornets would find it difficult to chip away at the Clippers' lead. That would continue for the majority of the quarter, despite fairly good defense from Charlotte. Ultimately, the Hornets would struggle to make even the open shots. The game would get out of reach quickly, with the final margin of victory for the Clippers not quite reflecting how most of the game went.
Tonight, the offense, not defense, was the biggest issue for the Hornets. Aside from a 28 point second quarter, the Hornets failed to score above 20 points in any of the other three. Aside from Lin and Lamb, only Kemba Walker scored in double figures, but he struggled offensively, scoring just 11 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Marvin Williams registered just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting, making just 1-of-7 from the 3-point line. The Clippers played good defense for stretches, but the Hornets missed multiple open shots, making their defensive efforts largely go to waste.
And it's shame, because the defense stepped up for the first time in recent memory, at least for portions of the game. The Hornets held the Clippers to just 16 points in the second quarter, and for a good portion of the second half, remained within single digits thanks to defensive stops. It's encouraging to a small degree.
With that said, it's time to be worried (if you weren't already). Charlotte has lost six straight, and they don't look to be getting fully healthy soon. Nicolas Batum could play tomorrow against Denver, but his injured toe will likely continue to bother him for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Lin, who tweaked his ankle. Despite playing through it, there's always a chance it could worsen in the next 24 hours. The Hornets' problems extend beyond injuries, but until the team gets healthy it'll be hard to gauge just how extensive those other problems are.