The Runner Sports

Hornets Fall Short In Biggest Game Of The Season

Heading into Tuesday’s home game vs the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks, the Charlotte Hornets sat only two games back of the eight spot in the east. A win over the Bucks would have given them the tiebreaker over Milwaukee, and a chance to be just one game back of the eighth seed. Instead, the Hornets fell completely flat and lost by ten to the Bucks. Now the Hornets sit three games back of the last playoff spot, with only eight games left. In a season full of disappointing losses, this one takes the cake.

Falling Flat! 

The Bucks jumped on the Hornets from the get go and dominated Charlotte in the first half. Things got ugly quickly as the Bucks were up 72-50 by halftime. For a team at home fighting for their playoff lives, it was as poor of a start as possible. The big halftime deficit was caused by two things: terrible defense and getting killed on the glass. For the game, the Buck shot 62% compared to 48% for Charlotte. The Bucks also had 11 more rebounds than the Hornets. Role players like Tony Snell dropped 26 points for the Bucks, and Charlotte’s number two option, Nicholas Batum, only had five points.

In the second half Charlotte finally started to play with some energy, and they closed the gap. They outscored the Bucks by 12 in the second half, but it was not enough. Charlotte continued to give up too many open threes, and were hurt inside by Greg Monroe, Kris Middleton, and the Greek Freak. Kemba Walker was the only consistent weapon for Charlotte’s offense. Fellow starters Cody Zeller, Nicholas Batum, and Marvin Williams were non-existent. Off the bench Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb provided a nice punch, but it was not enough. The energy overall was inexcusable and hard to explain. Charlotte had been playing well recently, and a home blow out loss like this, could be killer for morale and playoff hopes. It was Charlotte’s 15th loss by ten points or more.

Looking Forward!

Charlotte still has a chance to get the tie breaker vs the Bucks if they win in Milwaukee on April 10. It probably won’t matter as the Bucks are now in the sixth seed and five games ahead of the Hornets. The Hornets’ best chance to make the playoffs is to catch the Miami Heat, who are currently the eighth seed. Charlotte is currently three games behind Miami, but have a home game against them on April 5. If Charlotte wins they would have the tiebreaker over the Heat. However, to catch the Heat, the Hornets have to pass the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. With eight games left there is basically no room for error. This is why this devastating home loss to the Bucks hurts so much. It was a game Charlotte had to have.

Of the eight games left, five of them are on the road, and all five are against playoff teams; starting tonight in Toronto. Other road games include at OKC, Washington, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. According to ESPN, the Hornets now have only a 2.2% chance of making the playoffs. When the Hornets look back at their late rally to make the playoffs, they will remember the egg they laid at home against the Bucks. Let us hope that this game is not a trend, and Charlotte continues to fight even though the odd are not in their favor.