Hornets Fall to Clippers in Final Regular Season Home Outing
LA Takes Control With 2nd-Half Shooting, Charlotte Remains T-8th in the Eastern Conference
One of the Hornets’ best defensive quarters of the season was immediately followed by one of their toughest, shifting momentum to the LA Clippers and leading to a 113-90 home loss on Thursday night at Spectrum Center.
LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with team-high marks in scoring (18 points on 5-of-10 shooting; 3-of-4 from three)) and assists (7), to along with six rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in the loss. This marked just the third time in franchise history a rookie has posted a 15-5-5 performance with multiple steals and zero giveaways and first time since 2005 (Larry Johnson and Sean May)
After managing just 13 second-quarter points, the Clippers shot 87% from the field in the third (8-of-10 from three) and outscored the Hornets, 40-30, in the frame, turning a three-point halftime deficit into a seven-point advantage. Los Angeles rode what eventually turned into a 30-12 second-half run midway into the fourth, giving itself an 18-point lead and putting the game well out of reach for the hosts.
“I thought they felt us [in the first half]. We were physical, aggressive on them,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “They’re a physical team. Their wings are bigger than our power forwards. I thought our guys had some rush in there defensively. Problem is they just made some tough shots. We were trying to get threes, but obviously with their length and their size, they do a great job. I think in general, our guys battled defensively. They have another gear they can get to and they did there in that second half.”
Bismack Biyombo (13 points), Jalen McDaniels (10), Terry Rozier (10) and Cody Zeller (10) also scored in double figures for Charlotte, with Biyombo grabbing a team-high seven rebounds (five offensive) as well. Rozier, Devonte’ Graham and PJ Washington combined for just 22 total points on 7-of-33 shooting (21%), as Charlotte recorded just 13 points in the closing quarter.
Paul George double-doubled with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the victory, with reserve Reggie Jackson adding 19 points and fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard nearly double-doubling with 16 points and nine assists. Marcus Morris Sr. (15) and Nic Batum (11) also had double-digit scoring performances, and Ivica Zubac chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles finished the contest having connected on 21-of-45 three-point attempts (47%), 13 of which came in the second half on a 57% clip. Charlotte shot just 39% from the field overall and 9-of-33 from distance (27%), although helped itself a bit by committing just 12 turnovers leading to a mere nine points the other way.
The Hornets will now close out their regular season schedule with a two-game road trip, which gets underway on Saturday, May 14 against the New York Knicks beginning at 1 PM EST. Catch all the action on Bally Sports and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.