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Hornets fall to Clippers, 106-98, following poor second half

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Lou Williams explodes for 38 as Charlotte squanders a 10 point halftime lead.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Clippers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets blew a 10 point halftime lead, losing 106-98 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kemba Walker scored 30 points, while Lou Williams led all scorers with 38 off the bench.

Tonight was a story of two halves. The first quarter was close, with the team’s trading leads a few times. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was active on the offensive glass, and nabbed three offensive rebounds in the early minutes. The Hornets had eight offensive rebounds in the first half

Aside from Walker (who shot 4-for-6 in the quarter) the Hornets shot poorly, despite getting open looks. The Clippers didn’t shoot that well either, which kept the score close. They were led by Lou Williams, who scored a ridiculous 16 points in the first alone.

Walker and Jeremy Lamb made back-to-back 3’s, but Los Angeles ended the quarter on a 5-0 run, and led 29-22.

The Clippers lead into the second quarter until two 3’s from Treveon Graham gave Charlotte the lead. The bench held the small lead, and the starters built on it. Walker led the way, scoring 20 points in the half. The team as a whole shot much better as they continued to move the ball and get open looks.

Charlotte pushed their lead to double digits, and lead 52-42 at halftime.

And then third quarter happened. It started much like the first, with neither team shooting well. The Clippers scored the game’s only four points of the first three minutes. Then they went on a 10-2 scoring run to cut it four.

They didn’t stop there. Los Angeles eventually took the lead, then built a nine point lead late in the quarter. They outscored Charlotte 33-14 in the quarter.

Unlike the first half, Charlotte played without energy and purpose. Where they moved the ball a lot in the first half, they did little of that in third quarter, settling for one-on-one and/or contested shots.

The Hornets trailed by nine entering the fourth quarter. They shot better, but couldn’t get enough stops to close the gap. Williams continued to make shots, blowing by defenders and getting to the rim. MKG defended him decently late, but he was limited due to foul trouble.

Aside from Walker, no other starter scored in double figures. Frank Kaminsky led the bench with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Lamb scored 12. Charlotte’s bench played well in the first half, but were sluggish in the third and fourth quarters.

This loss is frustrating. Charlotte looked good in the first half. They out played the Clippers in the first half, and looked like they might cruise to their second straight win. But Los Angeles came out with more energy and determination, while Charlotte looked sluggish.

After tonight, Friday’s win over the Warriors looks more of a fluke. They can still round out the road trip with wins over the Kings and Lakers, but they have to play with more purpose than they did in tonight’s second half.