Svi Mykhailiuk scored 25 points and Theo Maledon added 22 points and eight assists, but the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Houston Rockets, 112-109.
As one might expect, game 81 between two teams with nothing to play for was not pretty basketball. The teams combined for 16 first quarter turnovers and played with little purpose or organization. The Rockets are young and athletic, so that made the game fun to watch, but the quality of play wasn’t good. The game slipped away from the Hornets in the second two quarters due to inefficient outside shooting and lots of Rockets offensive rebounds. Four quick threes to start the fourth quarter put the Hornets in a threatening position, but they never could get over the hump. The Rockets kept them at arm’s length for most of the fourth, but the Hornets did make one last push. They had two chances to tie it on Svi Mykhailiuk 3-pointers, but neither went in.
Theo Maledon had some moments. He turned the ball over too much, but he had some assertive drives when the Hornets needed a bucket and was super active defensively. He finished with five steals and added a couple more deflections. He continues to look like solid point guard depth.
Svi Mykhailiuk was once again the team’s best player and stuffed the stat sheet on the offensive end. He hit two threes to help jumpstart the Hornets fourth quarter push and was the most consistent threat all game long. He struggled with turnovers, but that’s what happens when Svi Mykhailiuk is your best player.
Mark Williams had a very strong third quarter after he struggled to get into the game in the first half. He finished with his 12th double double of the season despite splitting minutes pretty evenly with Nick Richards.
This sequence during the Hornets run to start the fourth quarter:
The Hornets turned the ball over 17 times, which isn’t the worst they’ve ever done but still isn’t great. Mykhailiuk, Maledon, and Bouknight accounted for 13 of those.
The Rockets are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, and the Hornets didn’t do enough to limit them there. They lost the offensive boards 14-7, and those extra shots made a difference considering how similarly the two teams shot the ball from the field.
This improved as the game went on, but the Hornets guards didn’t do a good job getting the front court involved early in the game. Mark Williams and JT Thor only took one or two shots in the first half which should not have been the case given how shaky the Rockets defense is.
That wraps up the Hornets home slate for the season. They’ll travel to Cleveland for the season finale against the Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon.