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James Borrego: Season has been “a grind” for the Hornets so far

After a tough loss to the Houston Rockets, coach James Borrego and players commented on the need for better defense, as well as the treacherous schedule so far

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

After the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Houston Rockets last night, James Borrego, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier spoke to the media. The common theme between all three pressers was that the Rockets killed them from deep. It was a three-point barrage that Charlotte simply could not stop. The game was a true slugfest on the offensive end.

Borrego brought up Houston’s shot-making in his very first answer. The Rockets shot 23-49 (46.9 percent) from three-point range and it absolutely killed the Hornets. This isn’t an ordinary occurrence, either. As of now, the Rockets rank 24th in the NBA in three-point percentage, shooting 32.9 percent on average.

“Give them credit, they made shots tonight. We could have been much better defensively, though. They didn’t feel us early on and it snowballed as the game went along.”

Houston dropped 43 points in the first quarter. While the Hornets put up 30 points of their own, the point made by Borrego rings true - there was a severe lack of defensive pressure. The Rockets shot 14-26 (53.8 percent) from the field and 5-9 (55.6 percent) from deep in the first. Rozier also made a similar comment, stating that “we just have to be better at making teams feel us.”

Bridges commented on the team’s slow start as well. He was asked about what the team needs to do in order to get off to a quicker start moving forward. The young forward shined a light on the defensive side of the ball in his answer.

“Just come out with a defensive mindset instead of an offensive mindset because we got to get our legs underneath us. The only way to do that is to get stops on defense and get out in transition”

Charlotte is fifth in the NBA in fast break points per game this season (15.1), as well as seventh in points off turnovers (18.3). This team clearly plays its best basketball when they force stops on defense. With a playmaker as elite as LaMelo Ball on the roster, they’ll always have a quarterback ready to kickstart transition opportunities.

However, all of that starts on the defensive end. As Bridges said, if the Hornets don’t get a stop, then they won’t have the chance to get out in transition. They only forced one turnover in the first quarter, so they didn’t get much of a chance to get out and run.

Despite the overtime loss, Borrego did have some positives to take home from the contest. The Hornets were down by 17 points but managed to battle all the way back and take the Rockets to overtime. Charlotte’s head coach made sure to give them credit for that, too.

“This is not easy. We’ve had the toughest strength of schedule in the NBA. We’ve traveled more than anybody in the NBA, this has been a grind. We’ve had two straight days off one time this season. One. So, you’re going to have these moments. What I love is that this group continued to battle. Nobody gave in tonight.”

The Hornets have had a treacherous schedule so far in terms of games played. As Borrego said, they have only had two days off in a row once this season. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They get three days of rest in a row on December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Unfortunately, there are two huge obstacles in the way in the shape of the Chicago Bulls (November 29) and the Milwaukee Bucks (December 1). Picking up a win in either (or both) of those games would do wonders for Charlotte’s confidence. The grind never stops in Buzz City.