Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Saturday’s road game vs. Los Angeles Clippers
By Richard Walker
Notes and observations from Saturday’s 125-98 Hornets’ road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that dropped Charlotte to 20-21 overall:
… Charlotte began the current West Coast road trip with the healthiest roster its had this season and on a four-game winning streak that improved the Hornets to 20-18. Saturday’s loss was the team’s third straight in a game Charlotte never led and injuries started mounting; P.J. Washington injured his left ankle in the fist half but returned to play, LaMelo Ball injured his right wrist in the first half but continued to play and Terry Rozier suffered a left hip contusion in the second half and did not return. “I thought our guys battled,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We’ve got to stay the course and stay positive.”
… Borrego didn’t offer any updates on his team’s injuries, but admitted he pulled Ball out in the fourth quarter to rest him. “It looked to me like he was having some discomfort there,” Borrego said of Ball.
… Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 21 points, including 14 points in the third quarter highlighted by four 3-pointers in a 2 1-2 minute span. Gordon Hayward added 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Ball 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.
… Hayward admitted the obvious afterwards about the team’s slump. “It’s not been our finest basketball the last three games,” he said. “We can be a lot better that’s for sure. We just have to try to stick together through this and try to get the next one.”
… Paul George led seven Clippers’ double figure scorers with 21 points. George also had five rebounds and 10 assists for Los Angeles, which improved to 27-16.
… History isn’t kind for the Hornets in 0-3 starts to West Coast road trips of four or more games. Charlotte has started 0-3 in West Coast road trips 16 times in its history. Only five teams did they manage to win every a single game and only twice did they win the last two games of a five-game trip like the one the Hornets are currently on; Charlotte managed to do that in the back-to-back playoff seasons of 1996-97 and 1997-98. “We’ve got to get back to who we are,” Hayward said. “Our defense has to be better. There’s no reason to press.”
What’s next: Charlotte continues the five-game, eight-day Western road trip at San Antonio on Monday at 8:30 p.m. The trip concludes on Wednesday at Houston at 8 p.m. before the Hornets return home to face the Miami Heat on Friday.