New year, same result for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Playoffs’ play-in game.
Charlotte got smoked by the Atlanta Hawks, 132-103. The Hornets looked unsettled against the more experienced Atlanta. The Hawks were in the Eastern Conference Finals last year and it showed early in the game. After a surge in the 3rd quarter, where Atlanta outscored Charlotte 42-24, the Hornets were put away for good.
The Hornets rushed shots, turned the ball over, looked tentative and were lost most of the night on defense. Atlanta learned from the last time these two played and attacked Charlotte when they blitzed Trae Young off of pick-n-rolls. The Hornets had no answers for Atlanta’s adjustments.
Charlotte will enter the offseason with several questions:
1. Can they find an interior presence and a defensive identity?
2. Are the rumors true that this will be general manager Mitch Kupchak’s final year in his role?
3. Are they are going to extend Miles Bridges
4. Is there anyway they can get out of Gordon Haywards contract?
Charlotte may have won 43 games this season, but it’s clear that this team isn’t ready for playoff basketball and from this point forward making the play-in tournament should be unacceptable. The goal from here on out should be the playoffs. A performance like tonight shows just how far this team has to climb to become that caliber of team.d