At the 24th game of the season, the Charlotte Hornets are sitting at 7-17 at the quarter mark of the season after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 119-117 on their home floor.
That loss came at the return of both of the Clippers’ star players in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, who nailed a step-back mid-range jumper to put his squad up by two with 1.4 seconds left.
KAWHI with the game winner in his return!
He also made 4 of the Clippers final 5 field goals pic.twitter.com/2JGuh5TOe5
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 6, 2022
The Hornets failed to tie the game up on the other end of the floor. Still, that loss follows one of the themes that the Hornets have struggled with so far this season.
The Hornets play up to their competition… sometimes.
They played the Clippers tight in their contest and have given a few teams a run for their money whenever they walked through Spectrum Center. The Hornets’ best win of the season came against the Golden State Warriors. They managed to get a defensive stop on Steph Curry to force overtime and came out with a win over the defending champs. Philadelphia and Minnesota also took L’s in Spectrum and they are pretty solid teams as well. Despite Joel Embiid or James Harden not playing in that matchup, it was still a good win for a younger team.
Even in losses at home the team still plays fairly well against some of the league’s more talented teams. Like against the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, they have not been able to seal the deal more often than not. All the players and coach Steve Clifford all repeat the same thing after every outing, “We can’t just get up for the good teams.”
Hopefully they can start converting these tight games into wins. That should develop into more confidence for this young crop of guys.
The injury bug is everywhere in Charlotte
This was an obvious one, right? The Hornets have yet to play a game in the 2022-23 season with everyone healthy and ready to go. It’s tough to win games when you are constantly without top tier guys on a nightly basis. When you are young team trying to create an identity, it is even harder. LaMelo Ball has missed a substantial amount of games already this season. He has only appeared in three of them at this point. Gordon Hayward and Dennis Smith Jr. have also been sidelined for quite sometime now. Fortunately all of those guys have been spotted amping up their production to try and make it back out on the court as soon as possible. Maybe at some point the medical staff will be able to provide the world with a time table on when they could return to action.
There is still a lot of season left to go and anything can happen. A magical run could be in the cards if all the guys come back to energize their teammates. That might be high levels of optimism, but anything is possible.
There are nights where it looks Charlotte may have it figured out. Others, not so much. They are 7-17 cause they just have not found out what it takes on some nights. To be fair it is still early in the season, but time in the NBA seems to go by with the blink of an eye. The All-Star break is approaching fast. Contenders, playoff teams, and the lottery favorites will start to emerge fully before fans know it. The Hornets have to figure how to string some wins together before things look a little more bleak compared to what they do currently.