The Charlotte Hornets have lost six straight games and hold onto to eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by just one game.
It’s not like we expected them to beat the Golden State Warriors, especially not on the second night of a back-to-back. That said, I’m not sure anyone expected them to lose the way they did. The final score of 126-111 is misleading; the Hornets were never within striking distance.
I suppose one could find solace in the fact that Frank Kaminsky scored a career-high 24 points, or that the Hornets more or less kept pace with the Warriors after the first quarter.
But if you’ve watched this team over the past month and a half, solace is likely a foreign feeling. As is pain. At this point, most of us are just numb.
Stephen Curry finished Wednesday’s game with 39 points on just 20 shots — 11 of which were 3-point makes. Klay Thompson finished with 29 points on 19 shots — six of which were 3-point makes.
The Warriors as a team connected on 21 of their 48 attempts from behind the arc.
This isn’t exactly news nor substantive analysis, but the Hornets cannot defend effectively anymore. Going into tonight, 29.2 percent of their opponents’ shots are open shots, according to NBA.com. That’s fifth worst in the league. An additional 18.9 percent are considered wide open.
The Warriors dropped 77 points on the Hornets in the first half on 56 percent shooting.
In contrast, the Hornets scored 56 points and shot 44 percent in the first half. They also tallied 33 assists for the game, which is more than enough to win — if you play defense. Head coach Steve Clifford is surely livid.
In fairness, the Warriors are one of the greatest offensive teams we’ve ever seen and the Hornets stumbled into what was essentially a scheduled loss at the end of a tough January.
Then again, Kemba Walker is going to the All-Star Game in a couple of weeks and there’s a decent chance his team won’t be in the playoff race. That looks bad.
And it looks bad because it is bad.
Kemba only attempted five shots in his 25 minutes on the floor and finished with seven points.
Thankfully, the Hornets have a few days off to recuperate and reevaluate where they’re at. Their next game is against the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
But with the team trending downwards and the NBA trade deadline just three weeks away, the Hornets have a decision to make.
Are they going to make the playoffs or mail in the rest of the season? Rich Cho’s no fool. He sees the holes in this team. If the Hornets can’t make changes from within, Cho will make them from outside.
We’ll see what happens.