Charlotte Hornets compete vs Houston Rockets, and that was enough

Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets fell to the Houston Rockets in Houston on Monday night, but can walk away with their heads held high after a good battle.

Sometimes in the NBA, you can’t take away any positives from a loss. However, despite losing to the Houston Rockets on Monday night, many positives were apparent for the Charlotte Hornets.

First things first, this would have been a tough game for the Hornets to win even if they were fully healthy. The Rockets went to the Western Conference Finals a season ago, and had won eight straight going into Monday’s game vs Charlotte.

Things got interesting when the injury report came out. The original report indicated that Jeremy Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were both probable to play, but things took a turn and the Hornets ended up with multiple players out of the lineup.

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While Lamb did end up playing for Charlotte, Kidd-Gilchrist was downgraded to doubtful. Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams were then added to the injury report. Zeller was out with a sore knee, and Williams was out with an illness.

Then, prior to tip-off, news broke that Tony Parker would be resting, and that Nicolas Batum had an eye injury that did not respond well to the lighting in the arena, so the Hornets were without both of them as well.

So, considering they were facing one of the hottest teams in the NBA without FIVE key players, I thought this was going to be a trainwreck for Charlotte. I was wrong, though.

After trailing the Rockets by 27 points at halftime, the Hornets were aggressive in the second half and cut that lead down to 10 at one point. Again, they came away with the loss, but it was nice to see them fight and not lay down and die.

Kemba Walker was spectacular, scoring 40 points on an incredible 14-20 shooting. He wasn’t the only contributing, though. Two of the young guys, Dwayne Bacon and Miles Bridges also looked promising.

Bacon got his first start of the season, and took advantage. He played 34 minutes, ending up with 13 points, three rebounds and two assists. He had some good moments defensively and was active all night long.

Bridges, meanwhile, had 12 points and six rebounds in the loss. He was also very aggressive and active, and actually had two awesome put-back dunks. He continues to show promise and his development has to excite fans.

Another thing that stood out was the ball movement. As a team, the Hornets were moving the ball around the perimeter very well and were actively seeking the open shooter.

You can tell James Borrego is trying to implement the ball movement and player movement style on offense from his days with the San Antonio Spurs. It still needs some tightening up, but it’s headed in the right direction.

Overall, every loss hurts the Hornets as they hope to sneak into the playoff picture, but this is one that I can personally live with. They fought hard against an elite team, but just couldn’t get the job done.

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The Charlotte Hornets will have other opportunities to pick up wins as we close the season. If they can get healthy and play like they did in the second half of Monday’s game, they’ll have a chance to land a playoff spot.