Kemba got another chance to tie the ballgame in the waining seconds but his miss wasn’t the reason the Hornets fell short.
Coach Steve Clifford called it “disorganized” everyone else called it ugly basketball. Neither team shot the ball well. Combine that with tight officiating and physical play inside and you get this low scoring affair. The Hornets hung around with the help of intense team defense, gutsy play from MKG and Jefferson finding his groove late in the game.
But defensive lapses with under 4 minutes to go put the Hornets down two with less than 10 seconds. Kemba Walker’s game tying stepback went begging.
Everything seemed a little off tonight. Lance was short on just about every shot. Jefferson’s timing seemed off in the first half. Kemba wasn’t able to get clean movement through the lane. NO ONE could hit layups or tip-ins. The Hornets were shooting under 30% from the field at halftime and had committed 14 turnovers. Granted a lot of these turnovers were what I, and others, felt was aggressive officiating, that fact remains that several possessions were given away on mental errors.
Lance Stephenson was held scoreless in the first half for the second straight game. Blame it on the injury, blame it on the new system, blame it on whatever you want, Lance doesn’t seem ready to play offense.
MKG did a nice job of getting into transition and finding alternative ways to score, including getting to the line five times. He also had some nice off-ball work to get open for a clean jumper. He finished the night with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Jefferson seemed bothered early on by some crafty Gasol defense. He stayed with it and found success in the second half against Kosta Koufus. Gasol found himself in foul trouble in the fourth and the Grizzlies were forced to switch Zach Randolph onto Jefferson. Big Al was able to outwork Z-Bo several times and almost provided enough lift for a Hornets victory.
The Hornets played handsy, physical defense for 44 minutes tonight. But the final four saw Kemba Walker getting behind on pick and rolls and help moving over late. Mike Conley, who struggled mightily throughout the night, took advantage for two baskets that kept the Hornets from putting this out of reach.
Jefferson also allowed Gasol to hit two jumpers right out of the gates in the 3rd quarter that stopped what was a Hornets charge at the end of the 1st half. I felt like Jefferson sagged a little too much on Gasol who punished him with jumpers that stopped a few key Hornets runs.
Zach Randolph was 6/12 from the field but didn’t get to the line at all and only finished with 12 points. The Hornets had a strategy for guarding Randolph, front every post-up attempt and send help for the defensive rebound. For most of the night it worked but when they got him on Cody or Maxiell it was no contest.
The Grizzlies aren’t known for great transition offense but the Hornets did a great job of not giving them ANY easy baskets (0 fastbreak points), despite turning live-balls over at a more than average clip.
- Bobby Phills’ #13 jersey was put back in the rafters during halftime. Great ceremony. Paul Silas, David Wesley and Chuck Brown among others returned for the moving tribute to a great player and person.
- Another loud and proud crowd tonight at The Hive. Though I will say they gave up on the team a little TOO early, heading for the exits with 2 seconds remaining and only down 2. We may be filling the seats but it looks like there is still work to be done.
- Free throw shooting looked like it improved from game one but down the stretch Walker, Jefferson and MKG all missed crucial freebies.
- Lance Stephenson played zero minutes in the 4th quarter. Coach Clifford said simply, “We played better without him.”
Clifford: You gotta be organized for 48 minutes.
Clifford: If we get our minds right we can play better tomorrow.
Tweet of the Night
Bobby Phills' Jersey is home in Charlotte! https://t.co/lqivutP2Fa
— Bring Back The Buzz™ (@BringBackTheBuz) November 2, 2014
Sunday, Nov. 2nd – Charlotte @ NYK – 7p – NBATV
A large and loud crowd was treated to a stinker on offense. The Hornets are clearly going through some growing pains as they try and recover from a rocky offseason.