The Hornets were down three starters and five players Monday night against the Rockets, so an upset against one of the hottest teams in the league was highly unlikely. But despite the 118-106 loss, Head Coach James Borrego said he’s proud of his team.
Charlotte got off to a slow start - allowing the Rockets to outscore them 38-19 in the first quarter. Things didn’t get much better in the 2nd and the Hornets would head to the locker room down 71-44 at the half.
Charlotte came out with increased energy and intensity in the 2nd half - outscoring the Rockets 35-22 in the third, and even cutting a once 29-point deficit to 12 with 8:50 remaining in the 4th. The lead would prove to be insurmountable, but even in defeat Borrego saw positives.
“I thought our guys battled. Especially in the second half. I’m really proud of their resiliency and the character they showed. We could have caved in after that first half, but we stuck with it and became the aggressive team. We won the second half.”
Kemba Walker finished with a game-high 40 points, Frank Kaminsky had 15 and youngsters Dwayne Bacon and Miles Bridges added 13 and 12 respectively.
“There are a lot positives to take away that game. Kemba Walker’s performance; how he just competed, stuck with it and willed these guys through a tough road game. I thought our young guys performed. Tough first half, but once we settled into the 2nd half I was really proud of their effort.”
The Hornets will have three days off before traveling to Washington DC to take on the 11th place Wizards Friday night. During the break, Borrego said the team’s number one priority will be getting healthy.
“We have to get healthy and refocus. Put all of our energy and focus into that Washington game. Learn from this game. I think there’s a lot of positives we can take from this game to carry over. If we bring the same spirit and fight we brought in the 2nd half into Washington I think we’ll have good results there. Just have to stay with it. There’s a long way to go. “