The Charlotte Hornets (33-35) lose in clutch time over the New Orleans Pelicans (31-37), 110-112 at Spectrum Center. This loss is tough! With how each game means for the Hornets, this game was challenging for us to lose. Not only by the stakes of the game but also how this game turned out. The Hornets started with jitters, scoring only 3 of their first 17 shot attempts. However, with the help of Cody Zeller, the Hornets made it manageable to chase the Pelicans by nine after one.
Terry Rozier had an unforgettable quarter in the second. Everyone who watched the game knew he was going to get cooking. He scored 18 points that turned their deficit into a nine-point lead. LaMelo Ball chipped in his 10 points with his tough layups and floaters, but James Johnson‘s three brought back Pelicans with a halftime score of 67-57 with the Hornets at front.
The Pelicans got into an early run to start the third. To combat Rozier’s hot shooting, Eric Bledsoe and Nickeil Alexander-Walker slowed the game down for the Pelicans. Eventually, Pelicans cut the lead into two to force the Hornets into a cautious situation. It was a battle from there on, with both teams scoring on easy-made baskets on the paint. Rozier’s three over Bledsoe to end the third increased the window for the Hornets to be up to seven, heading into the fourth.
Heading into the fourth, it started going downhill for the Hornets. They had one of the most horrible fourth quarters I have seen all season. They scored only one basket in the first seven minutes of the fourth. Lonzo Ball‘s two back-to-back threes provided an opening for the Pelicans to regain the lead in clutch time. Other than Rozier, the Hornets haven’t had anyone scoring.
In comparison to New Orleans with 23 fourth-quarter points, the Hornets only had 14. Besides that, the Hornets did an abysmal job defensively. They struggled, especially guarding Jackson Hayes that had a basket with 1 minute left to extend the Pelicans’ lead by 4. A late three by Rozier gave him his career-high but was too late as time was expiring.
Star of the Game
The only positive from this game was the performance by Scary Terry tonight. He posted a career-high 43 points in an outstanding 61.5% from the field and 64% from three. His second-quarter run was huge for the Hornets to bring up to a lead. With all the Hornets’ problems in the final minutes, he provided much of the scoring load needed to compete in this game. This performance reminded me of the Kemba Walker era in Charlotte that also performed the same way Rozier had in this game. Monster performances but little to no support that leads to constant losses. As I would stress out, this game was in the bag for the Hornets, but eventually, they rot out in clutch time.
LaMelo Ball had a strong performance tonight with his 22 points, four rebounds, and five assists. It might seem a good performance, but he injured in March concerning looking at that wrist. Late in the third, Ball put out a solid effort to block Iwundu’s shot but unfortunately hit his right hand at the backboard. We can see at spurts of the game he held his right wrist, which was bothering him. Thankfully, Ball finished out this game.
However, his 2 missed free throws in the fourth to tie the game brings me back on his wrist. How concerning is his wrist going to be? Is he going to miss some time because of the status of his wrist? We will find out eventually, but all of us hope he stays on the floor the next few games. As fans of the NBA, this league is so much better to watch with him performing out there.
Another concern I had in this game was Hornets’ offensive and defensive woes in this game. Besides our starting backcourt, the rest of the Hornets scored only 45 points on 16-of-50 shooting from the field and 4-of-21 from three. That’s not enough for this team if they aspire to make the playoffs. In addition, the Hornets gave up 60 points in the paint to the Pelicans, which was the story defensively for this team.
Without Zion Williamson to finish out the season, I thought the Pelicans would struggle a lot in the paint. However, Jaxson Hayes‘s performance tonight had me believe otherwise. Overall, he was the most impactful player tonight. He finished out with 18 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks. He scored crucial baskets in the fourth that was important for this team. On both sides, we see how his length and athleticism play a huge part in his game’s effectiveness on the floor.
As a side note guess the Hornets are just not that good in their interior defence, evidently with Mo Bamba’s 18 rebounds the other night
The Charlotte Hornets take on the Denver Nuggets at home, May 11 Tuesday at 4 pm PST.
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