Charlotte Hornets: Fifth Straight Loss but Reason for Optimism


Do the Charlotte Hornets See the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Yeah, then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
Was just a freight train comin’ your way

– No Leaf Clover, Metallica

The Hornets limped into the All-Star Break losers of three in a row, with three rotation players injured in Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

However, there was a light on the other side of the break, as Charlotte general manager Rich Cho made a coup of a trade in acquiring Mo Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Not only that, but good news on Kidd-Gilchrist suggested that he would be back and ready to go when the final stretch of the 2014-15 NBA season began. Even the news on Kemba Walker was encouraging, even if he was still a few weeks from returning to the court.

However, that light at the end of the tunnel quickly turned into a freight train headed straight for Charlotte as several Eastern Conference rivals loaded up  for the stretch run. Detroit grabbed Reggie Jackson. The Heat snatched Goran Dragic. Boston traded for Isaiah Thomas.

Couple those moves with the tough back to against Western Conference playoff teams in Oklahoma City and Dallas, and suddenly the Hornets find themselves on a five game losing streak, looking up in the standings at three teams ahead of them for the final spot in the playoffs. And there is a looming trip to Chicago to play the Bulls on Wednesday.

Charlotte has not exactly had the Bulls’ number lately, so a sixth straight loss is a definite possibility. It certainly looks like that train just ran smack into the Hornets and flattened their playoff chances.

More from Hornets News

There’s Still Hope?

Looking deeper at the schedule, you would see that 15 of the final 28 games come against teams with sub .500 records, including some huge games against Brooklyn twice, Detroit three times, Boston twice, and Miami once.

That is eight games going directly against the competition for that seventh and eighth seed. The schedule makers must have had a premonition that these teams would be fighting it out late in the year.

The best news, of course, is that the Hornets only have two more games against top Western Conference teams, a group that has absolutely pummeled Charlotte to the tune of a 2-16 record(vs top 10 West teams in the current standings).

So if the Hornets can just beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and just take their chances with the rest, then they should be right in the mix come April. Al Jefferson, in talking to the Charlotte Observer, summed up the feeling in the locker room after the recent loss to Dallas.

"“We’re not that far off.” Hornets center Al Jefferson said. “But time is running out.”"

Mo Williams is Good

While the loss column says disaster, the on court production says that the Mo Williams trade was a steal for Rich Cho and the Charlotte Hornets.

In the two games with Charlotte, Williams is averaging 23 points and 7.5 assists and is shooting 46% from the field. He has a positive plus/minus number of plus 1.7.

He has been exactly what everyone expected of him: a good shooter and playmaker. However, given the new teammates and running a different offense. he is also turning the ball over 5 times per game.

That is nearly twice as many turnovers as Williams was making previously, so there is a sense that as he gets more comfortable with his teammates and the offense, that he will actually play even better.

This has been a rough stretch for the Hornets, but they were in far more dire straights earlier in the season before rebounding in January to claw back into the playoff fight.

There is no reason for the Hornets or their fans to give up now, and based on the team’s history, they will keep battling hard for a chance to make some noise in April.

Next: Big Mo-mentum!

More from Swarm and Sting