Of course the Charlotte Hornets lost to a team tied for the worst record in the Western conference. It makes complete sense that they would blow an early lead to not only never recover it, but slowly fall further behind in an absolutely painful fashion. Why wouldn’t Frank Kaminsky get injured right as he was shooting himself out of a dreadful sophomore slump? All of this makes perfect sense, because nothing went right in a season where nothing will go right. When the game was reaching the point where it was out of reach, Steve Clifford brought Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the bench. A strange move late in the game, but the camera stayed on Kidd-Gilchrist. The player best known for hustle on Charlotte was gassed and visibly sucking down air. That never happens to him. This the type of season where something like that would happen.
Last night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns didn’t leave Hornets fans angry, sad, or even disappointed. They just looked at the final score and said “Of course that happened”, because that’s just the type of season Charlotte is facing after what began with so much promise. The real stunner to this is how new all of this feels for a fanbase that has experienced every kind of up and down over the years. This franchise is nothing if not interesting.
It’s that interest that has people continuing to watch this train wreck. It’s not the 2014-2015 squad that was completely unwatchable. Metrics rate Charlotte as a top 10 defense and a middle of the road offense. They’re at worst an “Okay” team, but anytime they try to win a basketball game the universe decides that just isn’t going to be happening.
Last night that became obvious when Kaminsky went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Since the All Star break he’s been shooting pretty well, and the slump he had been in for the majority of the season had finally been broken. The Hornets are trying to bring back Cody Zeller slowly while he recovers from an injury himself, and Miles Plumlee has barely had anytime at all to play in a Hornets uniform. The entire frontcourt refuses to keep even two players fully healthy at the same time, because that’s just the kind of season it’s been.
Further evidence that the universe has decided the Hornets will not be winning basketball games this year can be seen in the regression of Nicolas Batum. Has he played great basketball? Certainly not, and there are times where he disappears for shockingly long stretches. But when Batum is curling off a screen and has a finger roll he’s made one billion times before the expectation is it will fall in. This season that shot’s going to rim out. Last night, in a close game situation, that shot rimmed out. He finished the game 3-for-15 from the field with 12 points, because that is something that can go wrong in the season where everything goes wrong.
Perhaps this is all an excuse being made for a team that’s not actually that good. There’s definitely flaws that exist on this roster. The bench for one is a nightmare, and the lack of creation on the roster when Walker isn’t doing everything is startling. However, sometimes in the middle of a rough season everything snowballs into a perfectly horrible mess. One injury here, a missed shot there, a losing streak over here and before you know it the season is spiraling out of control. That is where the Hornets are. There’s a good team somewhere in this mess, but they’re too caught up in the snowball of what’s gone wrong to escape from it. Roll it back and try again next year guys. Just don’t get hurt finishing this one out.