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Hornets shoot themselves out of the East’s elite

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a way, it’s impressive the Hornets ONLY lost by single digits.

Nineteen turnovers and 32 percent from the field in what was essentially a one-sided affair to a team that’s spent the last half decade purposely being a terrible basketball team.

And yes, Embiid is a monster. Hell, he may even make the All-Star game as a rookie — a rookie who mere months ago was thought to be an overweight, out of shape, tweet storm of a bust.

But this loss was on the Hornets. This is what happens to a team on a mid-season road trip, a team nearing the end of a road trip on which they’ve gone 0-for. Even the great coaches know their teams are going to have a few clunkers throughout the season, and if this isn’t one of those than the team is in a heap of trouble.

A monumentally anti-Cliffordian performance with those nineteen turnovers, a number existing in part due to a long and aggressive Sixers squad, as well as a tired and and sloppy Hornets one. But a team can overcome turnovers. Especially a team like the Hornets that has exceptional ball movement, good shot makers, and usually stellar defense.

However, no team is going to recover from that kind of shooting performance. Nic Batum was the only Hornet to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, with every other player other than Cody Zeller shooting in the thirties or below. Usually in games such as these, Kemba Walker is the lone star. His scoring and efficiency from the field this season has been at a legitimately All-Star level, but tonight it just wasn’t there. The Sixers corralled him and his teammates had no answer.

The bench in particular struggled with both Spencer Hawes and Jeremy Lamb not seeing any action, and this is where the Hornets need Frank Kaminsky to shine. Offense off the bench is Kaminsky’s primary value to the team at this point in his career, and while certainly showing signs of real offensive potential now and again, his play continues to be wildly inconsistent, posting some of the more brutal shooting performances the Hornets have had so far this season.

With this game putting the Hornets at the .500 mark, they will go to Boston before returning home to Charlotte for a brief home stand. The team has made it a tradition of turning around a slow start, and let’s hope that tradition continues.