The first half of the game was a monstrosity. After an even first few minutes, the Clippers blitzed the Hornets. The score blew up from 12-8 in favor of the Clippers to 33-13 in a span of six minutes. The Hornets went 1-for-8 from the field with four turnovers during the run while the Clippers The Hornets stabilized the game a bit by the end of the quarter, but they still went into the second quarter down 37-19.
The second quarter was much the same as the first. The Hornets couldn’t string together consecutive made baskets, and a lot of the misses led to run outs and easy baskets for the Clippers. The game slowly slipped away from the Hornets and hit its low point when a Marcus Morris 3-pointer put the Clippers up 36 with just under three minutes to play in the half. Mason Plumlee of all people scored five straight to end the half to set the score at 70-41 in favor of the Clippers heading into the break.
The Hornets started the second half well. Kelly Oubre hit a free throw and Mason Plumlee threw down a couple of dunks as the Hornets scored the first five points of the half. They pulled within 20 on a Kelly Oubre three, but a trio of Nicolas Batum 3-pointers abruptly squashed the run. He ended up with four made threes in the quarter. He lifted the lid on the basket for the Clippers, who made most of their shots when they weren’t throwing the ball away. The Hornets ‘forced’ nine turnovers in the quarter and capped it with a Jalen McDaniels running 3-pointer, but they still trailed by 23 entering the fourth quarter.
The Clippers kept the trend where they either turned the ball over or made the shot in the early minutes of the third quarter. LaMelo Ball hit a free throw to pull the Hornets within 14 with eight minutes to play, and it looked like the Hornets might have a shot at a comeback. He tracked down a couple of rebounds and set up a couple of layups to give him his triple double, but the Clippers knocked down a couple of other threes on the other end to match. Batum hit the dagger to put the Clippers back up 24 with 3:30 to play. The Hornets took a timeout and both teams emptied their benches.
It was like the Hornets used up two games’ worth of good shooting against the Kings. All the shots that dropped on Monday rattled out on Wednesday. The Hornets did themselves well to play hard and give themselves a shot in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Ball’s triple double is the seventh of his career, tying him with Anthony Mason for most in Hornets history. He struggled with his outside shot, but his passing was key to elevating the offense to a level of competence in the second half.
Mason Plumlee tied a season high with 18 points, most of them spanning halftime at the end of the second and start of the third quarter when the Hornets made their first threat of a comeback.
The Hornets will hang out in LA for the next couple of days before taking on the Lakers on Friday night.