Shorthanded Charlotte Hornets Outclassed By Bulls

On the last game to finish the road trip, The Charlotte Hornets (28-30) plummeted against the Chicago Bulls (25-34) 108-91 at United Center. The Hornets are still without their stars LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward and was destined to lose this game anyway. The Chicago Bulls started off the game on a 10-0 run that affected the Hornets’ struggles in the offensive end. It was clear that their confidence and efforts were starting to sink. Adding to that, Chicago’s 52% 3 point-field goal shooting was great for them, but abysmal for the Hornets to end the half. It was way worse to start the 3rd as Chicago rolled out their horns to go on an 18-2 run middle of the third. Nothing much can be said in the fourth which was garbage time for both teams. To clarify, this game seemed like the Hornets losing it then the Bulls taking it.

Miles Bridges (13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists ) and Devontae Graham (16 points and 3 assists) were the sole contributors to this team, especially in the first half. Terry Rozier had a quiet performance tonight scoring only 11 points in a horrible 5/15 from the field. These are one of those games that limit the potential of this team. With only 4 players in double digits tonight, it’s rough now for them as theri record is now 2 games below .500.

On the other hand, Chicago’s newest acquisition, Nikola Vucevic was too much to handle for the Hornets. He had a dominant 18 points and 16 rebounds. Coby White also chipped in 18 points with an efficient 70% field goal shooting. The supporting cast of Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky placed their mark tonight with a combined 28 points. Even without all start, Zach LaVine, the team performed really well and took the lives out of the Hornets from the start to the finish.

Star of the Game

Coby White set the tone for this team to be aggressive but to also take care of his teammates. The box score only shows 3 assists but it was clear that his PG presence was much needed to lead the team to victory. Interestingly enough, his game reminds me of a young Chris Paul. I’m surprised, he may seem small on the floor but he’s actually a 6′ 5” point guard. With LaVine out of this game, the playmaking and ball-handling duties were on his shoulders through the game. He delivered and he knew when to score and when to give the rock up.

Biggest Concern

It has been on my mind since the trade deadline, but the depth of the Hornets has to be better! Nikola Vucevic demolished the paint during the whole game. He and Daniel Theis were having the time of their lives with frequent baskets in the paint. A lot of those opportunities contributed to foul shots which hurt the team even more. I have doubts about James Borrego’s decision to put P.J Washington at the center position at some points of the game. Offensively, it speeds things up for the team to be more quick and agile.

But looking at it defensively, the undersized big men the team face big problems whenever we play high-caliber big men like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. An example in this game that showed such concerns is Chicago’s 18-second chance points to Charlotte’s 5! That should explain it all to cover the Hornets’ struggles to take the paint. I do expect a lot of offseason moves for the Hornets. Specifically, I’m looking at Myles Turner or even at the far side, Karl Anthony Towns, via trade, to be the eye-openers come next season.

Surprise Contribution

I see a lot of potential for Vernon Carey Jr. to make his mark on this team. Tonight he only scored 8 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. And from the previous 10 games, he averaged 4 points and 1 rebound per game in 8 minutes of action. I know, it doesn’t seem like much, but from the way I saw him play, he’s starting to get a feel for the NBA game as a big man in the league. It seemed like a long time where the 6th best player in the 2019 ESPN rankings was smacking every team they went to with his dominant frame and girth. But one player that I would love his game to be modeled by is Montrezl Harrell. Vernon can be that engine and spark that bruisers like Montrezl does for the teams he plays for. Just like Montrezl, it would take a while for him to finally get that mark on the league. But time is in his side, and we’ll see how that plays out.

Next Game

The Charlotte Hornets are heading back home to play the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday April 23 5 pm PST.

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