It wasn’t meant to be tonight, as the Charlotte Hornets fell to the Toronto Raptors 127-106 to move to 2-2 on the season. This is sure to be a wake-up call for The Buzz coming off a two game winning stint against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.
Kemba Walker finished with a game high 26 points and added five rebounds and five assists. On the other end, Kawhi Leonard displayed his full arsenal of weapons, finishing with 22 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Tonight, the finger can be pointed at the defensive end. Toronto was able to do what they wanted and when they wanted against the Hornets defense tonight. Four of the five Raptors starters finished with 15 points or higher, and Jonas Valanciunas came off the bench to add 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Every single Raptor who stepped on to the court tonight scored a field goal, and they were efficient in doing so. The Raptors as a team finished with a very impressive field goal percentage of 57.5 and shot 38.5 percent from 3. Toronto also excelled on the fast break tonight, scoring 31 points compared to Charlotte’s 5.
Toronto exposed every weakness of Charlotte’s defense tonight. The Hornets need to address these defensive issues quickly, or they could be in for a long season against the better teams in the NBA.
On the offensive side of the ball, Charlotte wasn’t necessarily bad, but they struggled to find easy shots against a very tough Toronto defense. Outside of Kemba Walker, almost everyone on the Hornets struggled to find their shot and couldn’t break through the Toronto defense. Their drive is what kept them in this game early and that was good to see.
Jeremy Lamb and Nic Batum finished with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Willy Hernangomez tallied 11 points and Malik Monk added 10 of his own. Starters Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams minutes were cut short after failing to contribute in any fashion. Marvin is yet to find his shot this season, now shooting a horrid 26.3 (5-for-19) from the 3 point line.
It’s not the end of the world for the Hornets. If anything it’s good that we’re able to identify weak points in the roster this early in the season. Changes can be made. Charlotte travels to Chicago to finish off their road trip on Wednesday.