From the opening tip on Tuesday, the Charlotte Hornets looked flat. Taking on a Trail Blazers team that has been on a nice little run as of late — winning three of four games coming into Tuesday’s matchup, with the one loss being a two-point heart breaker to Golden State — it would have been very nice to see the Hornets come out with energy after a few days rest. That didn’t happen.
With just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, Nicolas Batum hit a jump shot that put the Hornets up 14-13. After that bucket, it was all Portland. Charlotte would not lead again for the rest of the contest.
There was just not enough overall effort from Steve Clifford’s squad tonight. The Trail Blazers got seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter, and finished with 11 as a team. Not having Cody Zeller — the Hornets primary defensive big man and second leading rebounder — definitely did not help that statistic, but no team should be able to bring down seven offensive rebounds in a quarter.
At the half, the Hornets were somehow only down by six after trailing by as many as 14 in the second quarter. Instead of coming out with some fire in the second half though, the Hornets still looked stagnant on offense, only scoring 18 points in the third quarter. The defense couldn’t seem to get any timely stops either, and by the time the third quarter had finally, painfully ended, Portland’s lead had ballooned to 18.
Once things had gotten really out of hand in the fourth quarter, Steve Clifford officially waived the white flag and put the reserves in. Christian Wood saw just his second action of the season, logging six minutes of game time. He finished with 3 rebounds, an assist, and a block.
For the game, the Hornets shot 39.8 percent as a team. Portland finished at 45.2 percent. The Blazers also out-rebounded Charlotte 51-42.
The Hornets are clearly going through a rough patch, and have now lost five games in a row. With road games against Golden State and Utah looming, things are not looking extremely bright for the Hornets right now. However, this team has the talent and heart to make a run at any time. Now would be a really nice time.