Charlotte Hornets: Important loss to Miami sums up the ’18-19 season

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets came up short in a pivotal game against the Miami Heat on Sunday, and it pretty much resembled the season in a nutshell.

At this point of the season, each and every single game are important for most teams. That was the case yesterday for the Charlotte Hornets, who went up against the Miami Heat, who are ahead of them in the playoff race.

These are the types of games that you love to see. The crowd is into it, there are playoff implications, and it’s extremely competitive. This was a game that the Hornets had to have, but they let it slip away with an atrocious 36 point second half.

It was a close, competitive game for three quarters, as the Heat led by just one point entering the fourth quarter. However, Charlotte had a horrendous close to the game, something that we have grown accustomed to seeing this season.

The defense disappeared, the offense went dry and in the end, the Hornets drop a huge game that only lower their slim chances of sneaking into the postseason.

Kemba Walker, the teams franchise player, had just 10 points on 4-16 shooting, so that did not help things either.

The lone bright spot from the loss in Miami was the play of Jeremy Lamb, who scored a team-high 21 points off the bench. Both Lamb and Walker will both be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

Dwyane Wade, who has become a Hornets killer over the years, once again came up big in what would likely be his last game against the Hornets. The future Hall of Famer had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Heat.

Time and time again this season we have seen the Hornets struggle to close out wins. Fourth quarter play has been a major struggle this season, and it has costed the Hornets many wins that they’d love to have back.

Miami outscored Charlotte 32-15 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss.

Let’s not forget the Hornets difficulty to find offense from guys not named Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb. The inconsistencies of role players like Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams have hurt as well.

Now, the Hornets are 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, nowhere close to where they would like to be. They are two games back from the eighth and final playoff seed and have a brutal schedule to close the season.

It appears that the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic will be battling for the final playoff spot. I just don’t see how the Hornets can realistically reclaim that eighth seed with the daunting opponents they have coming up.

It’s clear that the Hornets have been focused on trying to build a winning team right now, but it just isn’t working, and if they miss the playoffs (which is likely to happen), you have to wonder if this team will officially go into rebuild mode.

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There’s a lot of unknowns right now hovering around the Charlotte Hornets franchise, but one thing is certain, the fans are done with the mediocre play. We’ll see how the rest of the season plays out, but the off-season is when things are going to pick up.