Bryce McGowens scored a career high 20 points while Nick Richards and Theo Maledon tallied double doubles, but the Charlotte Hornets were again outmatched by the Toronto Raptors and lost, 120-100.
The Hornets got off to a roaring good start. They clamped up the Raptors for a big chunk of the first quarter while they built a pretty decent sized lead. The Raptors eventually hit their stride, but the Hornets were able to hold off for awhile before a 3 minute and 48 second scoring drought allowed the Raptors to take a lead they would not relinquish. The Hornets did a respectable job almost keeping pace with the Raptors in the second half, but their relative lack of experience compared to their opposition showed once again. They were never able to pull close, and it always felt like they were going to have to play near perfect basketball just to keep pace with an average game from the Raptors. Funnily enough, the game ended with the same margin as the first meeting on Sunday.
Bryce McGowens scored a career high 20 points that was evenly spread across the first three quarters of the game. His only box score contributions in fourth were a foul and two turnovers, but we’re focusing on the good here. He shot the three with confidence and had a couple of really strong drives that we’ve seen glimpses of over the course of the season. There’s something there.
JT Thor scored 11 of his 13 points in the third quarter and added three more 3-pointers to his tally for the season. He’s now hit a three in 11 straight games and is shooting well over 40% from three over that span.
Theo Maledon looks like a piece to keep around. He notched his second straight points/assists double double and has averaged 12.0 points and 10.2 in five games as a starter. The turnovers have been a bit high and the shooting percentages a bit low, but he’s playing an outsized role with lots of injuries on the roster. He looks like a solid backup point guard that the Hornets should try to retain if possible.
Svi Mykhailiuk continues to kinda be the Hornets best active player. He finished with and efficient 17 points and 7 assists and is 16 points and 4.6 assists since his minutes uptick.
The Hornets lost the turnover battle 17 to 6 and were outscored off turnovers by a 22-10 margin. Maledon and McGowens combined for 10 of those turnovers, but that happens when you’re thrust into a role you’re not ready for.
While the Hornets cleaned up the historically bad paint defense, it made literally no difference on the scoreboard. The Raptors instead made seven more 3-pointers than they did in the last meeting and won the free throw battle.
Only two games to go. Up next is a tanktacular showdown against the Rockets on Friday. The Rockets are neck and neck with the Spurs for the league’s second worst record, so they’ll be doing everything in their power to lose. The Hornets will make it tough for them.