While the glaring fear for the Charlotte Hornets might be another late-game collapse, there’s something else that needs to be addressed.
It’s the team’s opening stretches that have been troublesome.
So the Hornets will try again Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.
The Hornets are coming off a home loss to the Phoenix Suns when they failed to protect a late-game, seven-point lead. This came after they pulled themselves out of a 20-point halftime deficit.
“At some level, we have to take ownership of how we start games,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “Unfortunately, we’re not there right now. We go through the motions in the first half. … It’s very disappointing to start game after game with that type of mentality. It’s unfortunate we have to wait until halftime, a timeout to get going.”
The slow starts are a problem that won’t seem to go away for the Hornets.
“I think that’s the big question around here,” Hornets forward Marvin Williams said. “It feels like we never really play as hard as we can until we get down. Then the fight comes out. If we just start the game and bring the same urgency that we have when we’re down 15, it’d be interesting to see where we’re at.”
Borrego is generally supportive of the players, but he has been clearly irked by the lackluster starts.
“It’s their job to play for 48 minutes,” he said. “You’ve got to start the game with the right urgency, the right professionalism. The pattern that I keep seeing is the lack of urgency early. The pattern that I can’t accept is the lack of urgency to start games.”
So while the comebacks and second-half rallies show a certain encouraging level, the objective for the Hornets is to avoid being in those situations.
“We’re a team that keeps fighting, I like that about our group,” Borrego said. “It takes us to halftime or being down 15, 20 to get ourselves going. It’s something we’re addressing. We’ll keep working on.”
Charlotte has lost two in a row and seven of its past nine games.
Golden State has lost at each of the first three stops on its five-game road trip. Overall, the Warriors have dropped six of their past seven, scoring a season-low point total in Monday night’s 104-79 setback at Atlanta.
Rookie forward Eric Paschall poured in 24 points, so he accounted for nearly one-third of the point production. The Warriors had post player Kevon Looney back for the first time since the opening game as he returned from a nerve ailment and logged 15 minutes, with a pre-determined limit on his playing time.
But for the team, it “feels like a step back getting blown out,” Paschall said.
Forward Draymond Green sat out Monday with a heel injury.
While Wednesday’s game will be a return to his home state for guard Ky Bowman, a rookie out of Boston College, not all members of the Warriors were going straight from Atlanta to Charlotte. Green’s jersey retirement ceremony Tuesday night at Michigan State is attracting some members of the team.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr said it might be a good diversion for the team before the next game.
“I love the fact that he’s so loyal to his school,” Kerr said. “That’s his foundation.”
–Field Level Media