I almost titled this post “Charlotte Hornets abandon 18-point lead in favor of fifth straight loss” out of spite. But I’m still optimistic these guys will come around, for some reason.
The Hornets entered tonight with the same roster they had before the trade deadline, as did the Detroit Pistons. Some wondered if the Hornets’ recent struggles were the result of exhaustion, so with seven days off thanks to All-Star Weekend, they’d surely had enough time to recuperate.
It’s now clear exhaustion is not the problem. In fact, Hornets head coach went so far as to play each of his starters more than 39 minutes.
We now know what the problem really is: the bench.
The Hornets’ bench combined for 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting, effectively negating Kemba Walker‘s 34-point effort.
It’s true that Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky each shot poorly against the Pistons, and Batum did struggle mightily in guarding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, too. KCP burned Batum for 33 points on 25 shot attempts.
However, the Hornets’ lack of depth is apparent. It’s not just the offense that struggles when the reserves are in, it’s the defense. It’s the pace. It’s the intensity. The bench is bad.
The Pistons ran on the Hornets’ backups to the tune of 27 fastbreak points. In contrast, the Hornets had just nine fastbreak points.
Playing a team like Detroit without Cody Zeller and Miles Plumlee was never going to be easy, and it didn’t really matter if the Hornets won. I mean, it did, but given the circumstances expecting an unconditional win would have been foolish.
However, the manner in which the Hornets lost — the same manner in which they’ve lost 19 of their last 24 games — reestablishes the fact that the Hornets are not who thought they were going into the season.
They had a gosh darn 18-point lead! And lost! In overtime!
Everyone is to blame for this mess, to some extent. But ever since the Hornets got hit with some injuries, the team’s lack of depth has been exposed and exploited.
It’s somewhat unfortunate the Hornets didn’t make a move today.
They next play on Saturday against the Sacramento Kings. Without Cousins, that should be an easy win. We’ll see, though. Nothing is certain with the team playing like this.
Seriously, Hornets. Figure this out. You’re better than this.