Hornets Can’t Keep Pace with Jazz

Utah Hits 18 Treys to Defeat Charlotte

By Matt Rochinski

Charlotte entered Friday’s contest against Utah looking to open up its four-game homestand with a third-straight victory that would have given the Hornets their first three-game winning streak of the season. Despite three different players scoring 20+ points (Jeremy Lamb - 24, Kemba Walker - 21, Tony Parker - 20), Charlotte didn’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up with visiting Utah, falling 119-111 to the Jazz.

Playing its fourth game in six days (and seventh game in 12 days), the Hornets got off to a slow start in this one, falling behind 33-19 after the first quarter. Utah could not have been much hotter in the first, connecting on 54.5 percent (12-of-22) of its shots from the field, including 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from outside the arc. The three-point barrage wouldn’t stop there either, as the Jazz would go on to hit 18 threes on the night in 40 attempts (45.0 percent) compared to Charlotte’s nine treys on 28 shots (32.1 percent).

Those three’s would prove to be the Hornets Achilles heel on this night as they outscored the Jazz , 70-46, in the paint, 13-11 in second-chance points and 13-11 on the fast break. Despite having all of those statistical advantages, Charlotte simply could not make up for the 27-point differential from long range.

“The biggest concern going into the game was the paint. They’re a very good paint team. They were not shooting the three ball as well. This is not a team that was thriving at the three-point line and they got 30 points from Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver at the three-point line,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “We won the paint by 23 points, 70-46. Most nights that’s in our favor. Most nights you win that game. It’s just the three-point line. They made 18. We made nine. That’s a major difference. That’s a 27-point differential at the three-point line so what they didn’t get inside, they made up for at the three-point line. Give them credit, they moved us around from the start. They have multiple ball handlers and they have a big guy rolling. Cody (Zeller) is a big part of our defense with his activity and athleticism. He’s played Gobert fairly well in the past so when we lost him (to a left rib contusion in the second quarter), we lost a little bit of our thrust on both ends of the floor but you have to give Utah a lot of credit. They played very well. They moved the ball and they made shots tonight.”

Still, led by Lamb’s season-high 24 points to go with five rebounds and two steals, the Hornets refused to fold to Utah. Charlotte trimmed the deficit to 57-53 at halftime and tied things up, 64-64, on Lamb’s three-point play with 8:14 remaining in the third. The Jazz would have an instant answer, rattling off a crucial 15-2 run to build a 79-66 lead. Despite their best efforts, the Hornets were unable to get any closer than six points the rest of the way.

“We’ve been down before and we’ve come back and we’ve taken the lead. Tonight we got down early again and we just couldn’t fight our way back to take the lead,” said Borrego. “We were right there. I think we got within four or two and we just couldn’t get over the hump tonight. We have another one coming Sunday. We just have to regroup, get our minds right and our bodies right then get ready to go for Sunday.”

Charlotte closes its four-game homestand with an early 5 p.m. tip on Sunday against New Orleans.

NOTES: Jeremy Lamb has now scored 10+ points in 14-consecutive games (11/1-11/30), tying the longest double-digit scoring streak of his career… Marvin Williams recorded his second double-double in his last four appearances, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds… Tony Parker’s 20 points gave him three games of 20+ points this season after having only ones such game in 2017-18... Kyle Korver scored 14 points, including four three-pointers in his Utah debut, one day after a trade with Cleveland.