The Charlotte Hornets dropped a good chance to take hold of a winning record as they fell to the Utah Jazz 119-111, on Friday night.
The story of this came down to the perimeter defense, well, just the defense in general. Going into tonight, the most 3-point field goals the Hornets have given up in a game on the season was 16, tonight they gave up 18 threes on 40 attempts (45%).
Basically the entire game had a similar storyline. The Jazz would build up a decent sized lead, the Hornets would cut it down to one possession or so, and then the Jazz would pull away and build it right back up.
A big reason for the defense struggling could be attributed to Cody Zeller having to leave the game early in the first half. He’s no juggernaut on defense but he still adds value to the lineup, being forced to play small at times against Rudy Gobert leads to having to have extra help to account for him, which in turn opens things up on the perimeter. We are unsure of the severity of Cody Zeller’s injury, but it would be devastating to lose him for any amount of time.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation from this game was the emergence of Jae Crowder as the next Ray Allen. The most threes he had made in any game over the course of his seven year career was six, so naturally he decided to match that tonight against the Hornets.
Kemba Walker (21 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts), Jeremy Lamb (24 pts, 5 rebs), and Tony Parker (20 pts, 9 asts) took turns throughout the game attempting to keep the team in it, but it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.
The Jazz were executing well, the defense was lethargic, and Cody’s absence on the offensive end threw them off just enough to prevent them from being able to keep up with the Jazz.
The Charlotte Hornets are now 11-11 (and all things are perfectly balanced in the universe), and will next face the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Oh wait, one positive from the game is that Miles Bridges had another massive dunk, go ahead and put your bets in for him as dunk contest champion now!