The Hornets started the game well, jumping out to an eight point lead about halfway through the first quarter. That lead didn’t last long and turned into a five point deficit by the end of the first thanks to the hot shooting of Terrence Ross.
Ross was on fire the entire game, and he knew it. He was quick to fire just about every time he got the ball no matter how tight the defense. He finished the night with 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-10 from deep.
The Hornets fell behind by as many as 13 points at different points during the second quarter, but cut the deficit back down to four by halftime. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, and Miles Bridges scored the last 18 points of the half for the Hornets.
The game held pretty steady in the second half. The margin between the teams stayed in single digits for the majority of the half, but the Hornets could never get over the hump and retake the lead. Ultimately none of it mattered anyway, as the Pistons put a beat down on the Knicks from start to finish, which ended the Hornets playoff chances.
The way the season ended was a good representation of the season as a whole. Walker was unbelievable, scoring at least 40 points for the seventh time this season. Unfortunately his strong play couldn’t overcome an explosive performance from an opposing bench player and a largely unsupportive supporting cast. The latter issue wasn’t as pronounced as it was in the Jazz game, but it was notable. Jeremy Lamb, as has been the case for most of the year, was a viable second banana. He scored 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and was the only Hornet not named Kemba to hit a 3-pointer.
The two young guys that have played notably well down the stretch, Miles Bridges and Dwayne Bacon, ended their seasons on a high note. Bacon scored 12 points with the bulk of them coming during a strong stretch of play in the early third quarter. Miles Bridges stuffed the stat sheet in a way that’s becoming the norm for him- 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. And of course it included some highlight reel dunks.
This loss ends the season for the Charlotte Hornets. It’s easy to point to poorly played games throughout the season that could’ve prevented this scenario, but that’s going to be true of most any team. As James Borrego said in his postgame press conference- this team’s margin for error is small. Now the guys see that and will be more cognizant of it next season.