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James Borrego: Double-teams are a necessary evil when playing Irving, Durant

Borrego spoke at length about Charlotte’s defensive choices after a blowout loss to Kyrie Irving and the Nets

Brooklyn Nets v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets were on the wrong end of a blowout on Tuesday night, falling to the Brooklyn Nets, 132–121. Kyrie Irving dropped a 50-bomb on their head in what was a Master Class from Brooklyn’s star point guard and their supporting case.

Charlotte just couldn’t seem to get out of their own way on either side of the court. And while it’s difficult to guard players like Irving and Kevin Durant, the Hornets didn’t do themselves any favors on offense.

They shot 13-for-41 (31.7 percent) from three-point range on the night, including an abysmal 2-for-8 start in the first quarter. Brooklyn matched that by shooting 18-of-35 (51.4 percent) on their threes. Head coach James Borrego noted this difference as a main factor in the loss.

“Offensively, it looked like we were stuck in mud in the first quarter. We were getting great shots from three. They made theirs, we missed ours. I think we hung our heads there a little bit.”

Obviously, Irving dropping 50 was a huge help, but the Nets’ rotation pieces played well, too. In particular, their shooters were a big problem for the Hornets. Patty Mills and Seth Curry combined to drain seven threes, while Irving himself knocked down nine.

After the game, Borrego was asked about the number of open shots the Hornets gave up to Brooklyn’s peripheral guys. According to him, that’s just something they had to live with because of how talented Irving and Durant are.

“When you have two elite players like Durant and Irving, you can either play one-on-one and let them go, or you double-team and let something up. When you do that, there are going to be rotations. Other guys are going to have to shoot the ball… You’re going to be in rotations sometimes unless you want to play one-on-one against Irving and Durant. To me, that’s not the game plan we’re going to be successful at.”

Charlotte doesn’t get a rest, either, as they face the Boston Celtics on night two of a back-to-back Wednesday night. Borrego was asked about Boston’s tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in relation to facing another star duo. He said the Hornets could run into a similar issue - the defense getting spread out.

“We’re going to see it again tomorrow night. That’s the beauty of these teams - they’re elite for a reason. They’re championship-caliber teams for a reason. It challenges your defense, it spreads you out.”

But all-in-all, Borrego stated that the Hornets simply have to come out and play harder against the Celtics. He also said that, hopefully, the Celtics won’t have as hot a shooting night as the Nets did.

“More than anything, we gotta come with more effort and intensity. And hopefully, they cooperate and miss some shots as well.”

Charlotte’s tilt against Boston will be at Spectrum Center and is set to tip-off at 7:00 p.m.