The Hornets picked up where they left off on Wednesday by digging themselves into a massive hole in the first quarter. A close 11-10 game gave way to a 22-4 run by the 76ers to end the first quarter. The starters struggled to make shots while the bench struggled to even get shots at the rim. In the first quarter, the Hornets bench attempted four shots. They turned the ball over five times.
The second quarter was better. The Hornets weren’t able to chip away at the deficit, but they at least played like a semi-competent NBA team. Cody Zeller had a couple impressive buckets to lead the charge early. Dwayne Bacon had a couple nice drives at the end. The Hornets played the 76ers to even 25-25 second quarter, making the halftime margin 58-39.
The third quarter had elements of the first. The Hornets gave up a few easy looks due to poor rotations, as has been the case for a lot of this preseason. The Hornets did a lot of their offensive damage at the free throw line, making all ten of their attempts in the frame. The Hornets scored on each of their last five real offensive possessions of the quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers from Devonte’ Graham and Caleb Martin. Martin in particular had a strong finish to the quarter. Drawing a foul on an aggressive dunk attempt and outworking the 76ers to get an offensive rebound that eventually led to Graham’s 3-pointer.
The Hornets showed a lot of life in the fourth quarter, even cutting their deficit to single digits at a couple points. PJ Washington, after being quiet for the first three quarters, finished a big alley oop from Devonte’ Graham and made a circus shot while being fouled. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist caught a pass on the wing and, without hesitation, pulled up for a smooth 3-point jumper. It was all part of a 17-4 for the Hornets to start the final quarter. The run eventually petered out as they started to rotate in players from the deep bench. Willy Hernangomez’s two layups were the only two buckets the Hornets scored in the game’s final five minutes.
The Hornets played rather well after their atrocious first quarter. All five starters scored double figures and played decent overall floor games. Cody Zeller and Miles Bridges each had 12 points and three assists as well as seven and six rebounds respectively. PJ Washington stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two blocks. The Hornets as a team had 22 assists on 29 made shots, which is exactly the kind of ratio the coaching staff wants to see.
We’ll see the Hornets in action again on Monday when they take on the Grizzlies in Memphis.