The first quarter of the game looked like your Saturday morning runs at the local YMCA. Seemingly every other pass was deflected. Passes sailed out of bounds. Open looks did not go in the basket. The Hornets were less careless with the ball, and they capitalized on the field goal attempt advantage to take a modest lead. After one, the Hornets led by five.
A couple of exchanged buckets evened the game at 29. Miles Bridges then scored 10 points in a matter of about a minute and ten seconds to push the Hornets ahead. Jordan Poole answered with a hot streak of his own, hitting four second quarter threes to take the lead back for the Warriors. It all balanced out and resulted in a one point lead for the Warriors heading into the halftime break.
Bridges and Poole kept up their hot shooting to start the second half as the teams continued to play to a stalemate. The offense for both teams went cold, even more so for the Hornets. They went over nine minutes without a basket from the field while getting just three points from free throws (and two of those were for technical fouls). In that span, they missed 12 shots and turned the ball over six times. PJ Washington finally broke the spell with a 3-pointer with under a minute to play in the quarter. The Hornets defended well enough to get completely out of hand, but they still took a 13 point deficit into the fourth.
The Hornets got an alternative 3-point play to start the fourth—PJ Washington missed the second of a pair of free throws, which the Hornets rebounded and put through. A couple of 3-pointers in the traditional manner pulled the Hornets within seven and prompted a Warriors timeout. The Hornets got some tough buckets from Gordon Hayward to get the game within six a few minutes later, but a couple of lax defensive possessions allowed the Warriors to push their lead back to double figures. It all fell apart from there, as the Hornets had some poor hero ball possessions on offense and lost the defensive intensity they needed to finish the game out strong.
Hayward chipped in 23 points and 11 rebounds to complement Bridges’ 32 point performance. The rest of the team combined to shoot 14-of-53 from the field (26.4%) and 3-of-24 from three (12.5%). LaMelo Ball was the only other Hornet that had anything resembling a decent game, as he made up for an off shooting night with eight assists, five rebounds, and four steals to go with his 14 points.
The Hornets struggled with the Warriors defense all game long. They didn’t get out on the break like we’re used to seeing, and the Warriors did a good job of keeping them out of the paint in the half court. They generated only 40 second half points and never played with any offensive flow.
To add injury to insult, PJ Washington left the game with a hyperextended elbow after he was hooked by Otto Porter going up for a rebound.
The Hornets will try to bounce back in Sacramento on Friday night.