The Charlotte Hornets gave up 40 points and turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, never climbing themselves out of the hole they created in a disappointing 113-110 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Things just didn’t go the Hornets way tonight. Whether it was failing to secure key rebounds and loose balls, or poor officiating from the refs, it was a tough night overall for Charlotte. LaMelo Ball almost put the team on his back and led the Hornets to a win with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. What makes this loss even more disappointing is the Hornets had chance to get to 6-2 before a five-game West Coast road trip starting Wednesday against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Let’s take a look at why the Hornets came up short tonight.
Paint Presence or Lack Thereof:
The Hornets got owned in the paint tonight. Even though the final rebounding numbers were 49-47 in favor of Cleveland, the Cavs were able to get timely rebounds when the Hornets needed stops. Jarrett Allen had 24 points and 16 rebounds, rookie Evan Mobley had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Laurri Markkanen had 21 points and 8 rebounds. When Cleveland drove the ball to the basket, especially early in the game, the Hornets defense offered little resistance.
Off-Nights from Key Contributors:
Miles Bridges was off to a great start to the season, but tonight was easily his toughest game. Miles shot 4-18 from the floor and 1-7 from 3. Often Miles would drive to the basket and was met at the rim by either a combo of Allen or Mobley. It didn’t help that he didn’t get calls from the officials tonight (more on that to come). Kelly Oubre was ineffective, only shooting 1-8 from the floor.
Passive Gordon Hayward showed up again tonight. Gordon was only 2-7 from the floor and struggled to get to his spots against the Cavs defenders. Let’s be real, Hayward is making too much money to only score 6 points and shoot the ball 7 times. His lack of aggressiveness early in the season continues to be concerning, as well as his hesitancy to take defenders off the dribble and getting to his spots.
The officiating was awful tonight, and it clearly frustrated the Hornets players and the fans in The Spectrum Center. Miles Bridges got a technical foul in the first half, and I can’t even blame him for his frustration – often getting hit going to the basket. Cleveland shot 38 free throws to Charlotte’s 15.