Hornets’ Offense Has Rare Off Night in Loss

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The third meeting of the season between the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks was theoretically, supposed to be a high-scoring affair featuring two of the NBA’s top-3 offenses. While the Hawks did their part, the Hornets just could not get shots to drop in a 113-91 loss on Sunday night at Spectrum Center.

Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball each had 19 points and six rebounds in the defeat, which was just Charlotte’s second in nine outings. Bridges narrowly missed notching a sixth consecutive 20-point performance, which would have been a new personal best for him at the NBA level.

Charlotte shot 0-of-16 from 3-point range in the opening half, which contributed largely to Atlanta’s 55-44 lead. Those offensive woes continued into the third quarter, with the Hawks pushing the advantage up to 22 before the Hornets cut it to 14 with 2:11 remaining in the frame. The hosts never got any closer though, as Atlanta cruised to a fourth straight win.

“We couldn’t make shots. Simple as that. We move on, but we need to make shots,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego afterwards. “I thought we competed defensively. Our defense was trying. We weren’t collapsing defensively. We knew we weren’t going to hold them to 80 points.”

The Hornets finished 4-of-36 from 3-point range (11%), five fewer makes than their previous season low. As for the victorious Hawks, Trae Young scored a game-high 30 points and connected on 8-of-15 3-point attempts. Atlanta finished the night shooting 46% and 39% from deep (15-of-39), while also committing just 10 turnovers for 11 Charlotte points.

Said Bridges, “I promise you we will not go 11 percent again. That will never happen again, but I don’t make any excuse for our defense. They were getting layups, threes, whatever they wanted. Trae did a good job getting his teammates involved. He was on fire tonight.”

Gordon Hayward (right foot discomfort) was ruled out shortly before tip-off and his ability to steady the Hornets’ offense during scoreless stretches was sorely missed. His and Jalen McDaniels’ absences certainly played a small part in the poor team performance, but sometimes shots just don’t fall – in this case, for everybody – in a make-or-miss league. All in all, this one was a clunker for the Hornets – nothing more, nothing less. Simple as that.

“Missing Gordon impacted the game tonight,” added Borrego. “We needed some of those other guys to step up, but we will see what Tuesday brings us. We move on. I like the way our team stuck together tonight. We continued to compete and fight. I liked the mentality – the mentality of not giving in and continuing to fight – but the shots didn’t fall.”

The Hornets will begin an all-road back-to-back on Tuesday, Jan. 25 with a north-of-the-border battle against the Toronto Raptors starting at 7 PM ET.