Charlotte falls to the Cleveland Cavaliers at home, and now have a tough stretch against three eastern conference playoff teams as the race in the east standings start to get tighter. Charlotte needs their guys back from injury in the worst way, they just do not have enough shot making right now on offense.
The Hornets 1st half was up and down the numbers looked worse than the actual play. The Hornets were creating a ton of good looks that were just not falling. Graham and Bridges in particular did not shoot well both were a combined 4/16 for 11 points going into the half. Rozier by himself had 12 points.
The Hornets 1st half defense was a bright-spot although they were down for most of the half, they didn’t let the game get away from them. Charlotte was one good scoring run away from taking control of this game and that was always the sense when watching this one. It just never happened.
The rim protection in the throughout this game was just not good enough. Cleveland was able to stay in-front for the most part due to their dominance in the paint. The Cavaliers were also able to capitalize in transition and create some easy baskets that allowed them to extend their lead.
Terry Rozier was the bright spot in the 1st half as he kept the Hornets offense alive enough to stay in the game. The minutes where Charlotte has had to rely on Martin have just been abysmal if Martin is not hitting his shot his role on the floor minimizes dramatically. The offense really struggled to find any pace or rhythm with Rozier off the floor, everything was clunky and the ball movement became chaotic leading to rushed shots late in the shot clock.
The Hornets opened the 3rd quarter with an 11-5 run to tie the game 54-54 and started playing with better pace than they did in the 1st half. The minutes without Rozier derailed the momentum for a stretch as Cleveland was able to stretch the lead back out to 11 at one point. Felt at this moment is where Charlotte really squandered an opportunity to take legitimate control of this game.
Charlotte picked the pace back up and was able to keep the game close but still ended the 3rd quarter with a nine-point deficient. Miles Bridges really picked up his game as he ended the 3rd quarter with 16 points, he led the team in points along with Terry Rozier who also had 16 points going into the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter was probably my biggest gripe with the Hornets this game. It’s one thing to not make open shots but to just flat out blow assignments in transition is another. The defensive intensity slipped, and the Hornets were never able to rediscover it as Cleveland had taken the game by the throat.
Rozier and Graham made some big shots down the stretch late in this game, but they were overshadowed by some really bad and brutal defensive efforts in transition. The Hornets would have won this game if they really anchored down on defense because the shots came for them to get back in this one. Unfortunately, Charlotte drops this one making it three losses in a row.
Charlotte now slips to the 8th seed after tonight and have some ground to make up if they want to hang in the playoff picture. Charlotte is on the road next game against the formidable Brooklyn Nets.