Hornets wrapup: Notes and observations from Friday’s home game against Memphis

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Friday’s 108-93’s Charlotte Hornets home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies:

… The Hornets were almost the opposite of the aggressiveness they showed in Wednesday’s 118-99 win at the Dallas Mavericks. “They were the aggressive team tonight,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said of Memphis. “Give them credit.”

… Guard Devonte’ Graham’s shooting struggles are such that rookie LaMelo Ball could be promoted to the starting lineup in his place. Graham missed nine of 10 shots, including five of six 3-pointers, and scored three points in 25 minutes; Graham, a team-leading 18.2 scorer a year ago, is averaging 9.8 points while shooting 27.4 percent overall and 30.6 on 3-pointers through five games this season. “We’ll continue to evaluate our team and roster,” Borrego said of a potential starting lineup switch. “That’s one area I’ve got to continue to look at – and look at it hard.”

… Graham took all the blame for his struggles. “It’s just me,” Graham said. “I’m not making shots. It can’t blame it on nothing else.”

… The Hornets appeared to be catching the Grizzlies at the right time as 2020 NBA rookie of the year Ja Morant was out of action with a sprained ankle. But Dillon Brooks (21 points, 5-10 on 3-pointers), Kyle Anderson (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Jonas Valanciunas (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Tyus Jones (six points, 12 assists) led Memphis, which led by 10 or more points for the final 23:47 of the contest.

… Bismack Biyombo had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Charlotte. It was his highest scoring game since he had 19 points on Nov. 27, 2019 against the Detroit Pistons. A 10-year veteran, Biyombo’s career-high is 21 points.

… Charlotte’s lost knocked them to 2-3 overall and 1-2 against the Western Conference. The Hornets’ have had only one winning record against the West since Charlotte returned to the NBA in 2004; The Hornets went 17-13 in the 2009-10 season.

… Earlier Friday, the NBA announced Dallas Mavericks forward James Johnson, Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin and Hornets forward Caleb Martin have been fined for their roles in Wednesday’s an on-court altercation late in Charlotte’s 118-99 victory. Johnson, who received a technical and was ejected, was fined $40,000 for deliberately pushing Cody Martin out of bounds, aggressively confronting him, and initiating the incident. Cody Martin, who received a technical and was ejected, was fined $25,000 for pushing Johnson in retaliation and making contact with a game official. Caleb Martin was fined $20,000 for entering the altercation and making contact with a game official.

What’s next: Charlotte visits Philadelphia on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Hornets have dropped 11 straight games against the 76ers, a streak that began on Jan. 13, 2017. Charlotte’s only longer losing streaks came against Dallas (21), Miami (20) and Chicago (17).