Hornets Can’t Shake Rough Start in Brooklyn
Charlotte’s 32-11 First-Quarter Deficit Too Much to Overcome vs Nets
A slow start on the road can be costly in the NBA, and despite their best efforts, the Hornets couldn’t shake their first-quarter performance on Thursday in Brooklyn as they fell to the Nets, 111-89 at Barclays Center and moved to 1-1 on the six-game road trip.
Devonte’ Graham and Gordon Hayward led Charlotte with 13 points apiece, while Terry Rozier chipped in with 12 more. Malik Monk, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle sprain, led the Hornets off the bench with 11 points, and Miles Bridges rounded out the road team’s double-figure scorers with 10 points.
It started in the first quarter. We scored 11 points. We had a major offensive issue tonight to start the game,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “We have to correct it. We need other guys to step up. I’m not sure we had one guy step up offensively tonight, but we move forward and we move on.”
Charlotte opened the game shooting just 4-of-23 from the field (17.4 percent), including only connecting on 1-of-10 shots from outside the arc (10.0 percent) while scoring a season-low, 11 first-quarter points. PJ Washington led the Hornets in the stanza with three points, as no Charlotte player hit more than one field goal in the first 12 minutes of action.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, didn’t seem to be fazed by the absence of James Harden (right hamstring), Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) and Blake Griffin (left knee pain), as the Nets scored 32 points in the frame on 12-of-25 shooting from the field (48.0 percent), while hitting an equally hot 6-of-13 long-range attempts (46.2 percent). Jeff Green led the Nets with 12 first-quarter points and added five rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge scored two points, brought down four rebounds and had a steal in his first action on Brooklyn.
All season long, the Hornets have showed resiliency in the face of adversity, and they did so again in the second quarter with a national television audience on TNT watching.
Led by eight second-quarter points from Graham the Hornets outscored Brooklyn, 37-36, in the second quarter and heated up from the field (12-of-21, 57.1 percent) and outside the arc (5-of-8, 62.5 percent). While Charlotte found its offensive zone, the Nets didn’t slow down their attack, shooting 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the field and a red-hot 87.5 percent (7-of-8) despite getting outscored.
Any attempt the Hornets would make to trim the lead coming out of the locker room at halftime was thwarted by the Nets as Brooklyn again buckled down defensively at home coming out of the locker rooms. Charlotte was held to 17 points by Brooklyn in the third frame, as they again shot under 30 percent from the field (6-of-22, 27.3 percent) in the third quarter and saw the Nets lead grow to as many as 32 in the quarter.
Newcomer Brad Wanamaker (nine points) led Charlotte in the fourth as they outscored Brooklyn, 24-19, but the Nets were too much to handle on this night.
Green led all scorers with 21 points for Brooklyn, while Kyrie Irving tallied a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Aldridge nearly recorded a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“We’ve been a resilient group all year,” said Borrego. “We’ve responded, and I expect us to respond tomorrow night… we need to pick each other up, move forward and be ready for a very physical game tomorrow.”
The Hornets have to hop on a plane tonight and head to Indiana, where they will take on the Pacers in the second half of a road back-to-back at 8 pm Friday on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ.