Recap and analysis: Hornets blown out again by Lakers, 93-75

The Charlotte Hornets continue to tease by hanging around in games for a half or so, but eventually most non-Hornets teams make a few shots, and the Hornets just can’t keep up when teams go that route. This time they were outscored 54-35 in the second half en route to a 93-75 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Hornets grinded through the first half. They shot the ball poorly, but they hung around by getting to the free throw line and limiting the Lakers offensively. The process still wasn’t good offensively, but they made a few more shots than they had been–enough to make it feel less cumbersome to watch.

Everything fell apart in the second half, much like in the Spurs game. The Lakers started making the jumpers that weren’t going down in the first half, and the Hornets continued to throw up mostly garbage shots that didn’t go in. The Spurs closed the game on a 12-4 to blow open the game and make the final score more reflective of the disparity of the team.

The Good

Brandon Miller’s floor game outside of the poor shooting. He led the team in rebounds (8) and assists (4). He didn’t commit a turnover and made the right play more often than night. The shots didn’t go down, but his misses were mostly just barely short, which might be a product of fatigue.

James Nnaji had six rebounds (two offensive) and two blocks in just 13 minutes of play. He made both of his free throws and looked like the more imposing physical presence of the Hornets centers.

Tre Scott quietly tied for the team lead in scoring with 11 points on just four shots. He had a big dunk in traffic and played within himself well. He probably had the best game relative to expectation.

The Bad

During Jabari Smith’s big scoring night in the Rockets vs Pistons game, play by play analyst Seth Greenberg talked about the importance of the team’s sophomore players setting the tone and being the best players on a team that’s typically full of rookies and tryout players. The Hornets have two third year first round picks that are starting. Not only have they not set the tone, they’ve been downright bad, and this game was a continuation of that.

James Bouknight and Kai Jones combined to score 15 points in 50 minutes of play. Jones gets slightly more of a pass because he’s a big that’s been victimized by the trigger happy guard play. Bouknight is part of the trigger happy guard problem. He made his first two 3-point attempts of the game today then proceeded to go 2-for-12 from the field and 0-for-6 from three for the rest of the game. He’s now shooting 17-of-50 (34.0%) from the field and 5-of-28 (17.9%) from three across the four summer league games.

Bryce McGowens and Nick Smith Jr. didn’t help. The trio of guards combined to go 11-of-39 from the field and 6-of-22 from three. They complemented those 39 shot attempts with a whopping five total assists. You could make a pretty extended cut of all the forced floaters and contested jumpers they trio are taking with open players around on the perimeter.

Brandon Miller wasn’t any better with a 4-of-18 shooting performance of his own. As of right now the Hornets are the worst shooting team in Las Vegas with a field goal percentage a smidge over 30%. 30%! From the field!

There’s been a lot of heat on head coach Marlon Garnett for the team’s performance to this point. He certainly deserves some blame, as the Hornets haven’t been able to generate many easy looks out of their sets. The offense is labored and flat out does not generate good looks in the half court. However, I think a lot of that can also be pinned on the players that are simply not moving the ball efficiently and instead are hunting their own shots.

What’s Next

We’re almost done with this. Three games to go. The next one will be on Tuesday night against definitely the Portland Trail Blazers and maybe Scoot Henderson.

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