There’s no question the Hornets are a different team this year. There’s a new head coach, new starters and new talent. The bench and backup point guard position, which has been a place of needed improvement, got a vast upgrade with the addition and experience of Tony Parker and athleticism of rookie Miles Bridges. Malik Monk, who has the potential to be a prolific scorer in the league, is thankfully getting more burn and is currently the 2nd leading scorer on the team. Kemba, is Kemba, but has been playing some of the best basketball of his career - averaging 29.1 points per game (2nd highest in the league behind Steph Curry). But with all of the positives, there’s one thing that seems to carry over from year to year. The Hornets still struggle winning close games.
Charlotte was 0-9 in games decided by three or fewer points during the 2016-2017 season. Last year they were 6-13 in games decided by 5 points or less and so far this year they are 1-4 in games decided by 4 points or less.
“I don’t know,” Walker said after Thursday’s 4-point loss to the Thunder. “We have to find a way to get stops and put the ball in the basket. We just have to be better down the stretch. We have to want these games, we have to try and get these games. A lot of times it’s there for us.”
The Hornets ability to win close games can be the difference in making the playoffs, in a wide-open Eastern Conference, or watching from the sidelines for the 3rd straight year. Whether it’s will or lineup Coach Borrego will have to find a way to reverse this trend.