The Hornets drop to 1-2 on the season with both losses coming away from the Spectrum Center.
Charlotte was led by Frank Kaminsky, who scored 18 points on 6-8 shooting and 3-4 from downtown. Jeremy Lamb added 15 points and nine rebounds along with Kemba Walker’s 15 points. Dwight Howard grabbed 22 rebounds, but finished with only 8 points with a dismal night at the free throw line (0-10).
For the rookies, there were some good moments. However, it was a struggle in the end for Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon. The two combined to go 3-12 from the field and 0-6 from three. Hopefully better days are ahead for Monk. The Kentucky standout just needs some time to find his footing.
Charlotte found out that you can only hope to contain Giannis Antetokounmpo at the moment. The Greek Freak continued his torrid pace to start the season with 32 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocks. Khris Middleton recorded a clutch block to go with his 20 points and 6 rebounds.
Outside of Kaminsky, it was a tough night from 3 for the Hornets, going 7-26 from beyond the arc. The team also missed 15 free throws (two-thirds of them coming from Howard). With a better performance at the line, the Hornets would’ve stole the game on the road.
Head Coach Steve Clifford didn’t have the services of two of his preseason projected starters — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Nicolas Batum. In addition, Cody Zeller missed his second straight game, along with Michael Carter-Williams, and now Julyan Stone, who is out for 4-6 weeks.
Despite the loss, there were quite a few highlight plays:
Honestly, I didn’t expect the Hornets to win this game without their biggest defensive ace. MKG is very important to the teams success and his tenacity would’ve helped against an elite talent like the Greek Freak. Coach Clifford used a lot of different looks to try to confuse this other-worldly specimen, but Giannis proved to be too much to handle.
Overall, the loss is frustrating but there are a lot of missing pieces to this team that aren’t available. The team will need role players to step up over the next few games while players like MKG and Batum continue to recover. MKG and MCW are practicing, but they aren’t up to game speed just yet. We will see if the Hornets can bounce back in their next matchup, a home tilt with the Denver Nuggets.