The 2015-2016 season was a magical ride for the Charlotte Hornets and their fans. Unfortunately for them, the team crashed back to reality hard, as their season ended Sunday in a 106-73 blowout loss to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of their first round match-up.
The Hornets, who struggled in matinee games all season, continue to do so Sunday, scoring less than 20 or fewer points in three of the games' four quarters - including being outscored 29-11 in the third quarter that sealed the team's fate. The team looked tired and was unable to put up much of a run on offense or defense - they shot just 32.1 percent from the floor while the Heat shot more like they did in Games 1 and 2, finishing Game 7 shooting 48.3 percent from the floor. Charlotte was outrebounded 58-36, including 10-3 on offense, finished with more turnovers than Miami (19-9) and was outscored in the paint 58-22.
Frank Kaminsky led the way for the Hornets with 12 points and six rebounds, though he shot just 3-for-15 from the floor. Courtney Lee (11) and Nicolas Batum (10) were the only other Hornets in double figures. Kemba Walker (3-for-16 from the floor to go with six assists) and Jeremy Lin (4-for-8 in 19 minutes) each finished with nine points.
Goran Dragic, who had been quiet for most of the series, exploded on Sunday for 25 points, six rebounds and four boards. Gerald Green added 16 points - most coming after the result had already been decided, while Luol Deng added 15 and 8 and Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Dwayne Wade finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Sunday was an unfitting ending for what had been an amazing bounceback season for the Hornets that saw them revolutionize their offense and become one of the most fun teams in the league to watch. You will be missed, 2015-2016 Charlotte Hornets. Thank you for everything.