Say hello to the six seed. Embrace it with all your love. Charlotte Hornets - 98, Washington Wizards - 113.
It was probably a long shot that the Hornets were going to get homecourt advantage to begin with, but they at least had a shot. With the Boston Celtics on the schedule next the team had a real opportunity to push for the four seed and avoid a first round match up with Atlanta, a bad matchup for the Hornets who seem to be hitting their stride as of late. But instead, for whatever reason, the Hornets simply could net get up for this game.
The Wizards were without star point guard John Wall, instead starting with former-Bobcat Ramon Sessions at the point. Then in the 3rd quarter, star shooting guard Bradley Beal left the game in what had to of been his 1,000th injury of the 2015-16 season.
And even against this talent-deprived roster, the Hornets couldn't muster near enough stops or points to eek out a win. An issue for the Hornets all afternoon were the bigs for the Wizards with Marcin Gortat finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds, on 10-11 from the field, while the Wizards as a team scored 44 points in the paint. With post offense less popular in the NBA in recent years, the Hornets haven't had to worry about a whole lot of post threats but man are they vulnerable when they do. We all know an interior defensive presence is one of the Hornets biggest needs (as we see Biz come alive in Toronto this season) and it was particularly bad today. As great as Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky are, there short arms and lack of NBA-related strength make it difficult for them to play with any margin for error defensively, instead having to rely completely on smarts and position.
As far as bright spots were concerned, there really weren't any. Sure, Frank played well, scoring a team high 18 points off of just 8 shots from the field, 3-3 from three (say that three times fast) and 11 boards, but the team as a whole came out looking very flat. Starters Nic Batum, Courtney Lee, and Kemba Walker were a combined 9-33 from the field.
The Hornets are looking tired to end the season, and it'll be interesting to see how Coach Clifford decides to approach these last two games. You'd have to think with the Hornets still mathematically in the hunt for homecourt that the team will give everything its got against Boston, and then shut it down after that if things don't go their way. If the Hornets can rest up and get back to how they've played much of the second half of the season, we should be in for a very entertaining playoff series -- or two.