Charlotte Hornets: Injuries Felt In Loss To Raptors

Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets drop their second straight game on the road Thursday night against the Toronto Raptors.

The Charlotte Hornets were coming into tonight’s game in need of a win against the Toronto Raptors, who sit near the bottom in the Eastern conference standings. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they were not able to come away with the win.

Coming into their first regular season meeting with the Toronto Raptors, the Charlotte Hornets were down two players, Cody Zeller and Gordon Hayward. Zeller has been out for an extended period of time due to his hand injury, and so the team was already accustomed to playing without him. What really hurt the Hornets was not having Gordon Hayward out on the floor.

Hayward has led the Charlotte Hornets in scoring in several games this year, including just two games ago when we scored 34 against the New York Knicks. Even in their loss against the Dallas Mavericks, a game where he went to the locker room and missed the fourth quarter, he still managed to be tied for second in team scoring. His presence was missed.

Unlike in their game against the Mavericks, the Hornets came out of the gates ready to play. For the majority of the first quarter they led the Raptors. The Raptors came back and eventually won the first quarter 34 to 35. The Toronto Raptors completely dominated the middle quarters, outscoring the Hornets 36 to 28 in the second, and 28 to 24 in the third.

The Hornets finally turned things around in the fourth, outscoring the Raptors 22 to 12. While this is a good sign for the Hornets, it still does not excuse the fact that they were outscored by the Raptors in the previous three quarters. One thing for sure is that the team showed a lot of fight.

One positive thing about Gordon Hayward not playing, is that for the first time this year, Charlotte fans got to see Malik Monk on the court for extended minutes. Monk looked like a man that was trying to prove to the coaches and to himself, that he deserves more playing time. Monk scored 10 points, shot 50% (3/6) from the field, including 60% (3/5) from the three-point line. He also went 1/2 from the free-throw line and he had 3 assists and 3 rebounds.

Terry Rozier once again led the team in points, scoring 22 points. He went 62.5% (10/16) from the field, including 50% (2/4) from beyond the arc. PJ Washington had another solid game, coming in second on the team in scoring and earning another double-double. He scored 20 points, going 50% (7/14) from the field, including 33.3% (1/3) from three. He also went an impressive 5/6 (83.3%) from the charity stripe and he grabbed 11 rebounds.

Devonte’ Graham had a solid night, coming in at number three in team scoring. He scored 15 points, going 33.3% (5/15) from the field and 41.7% (5/12) from the three-point line. LaMelo Ball bounced back from his rough game against the Mavericks, earning a double-double on14 points and 11 assists. He went 42.9% (6/14) from the field, including 40% (2/5) from three.

Miles Bridges bounced back as well, scoring 12 points on 5 of 7 (71.4%) from the field, and 2 of 3 (66.7%) from the three-point line. He also had 2 rebounds and 3 assists on the night. Oh, and one more thing. He likes to dunk the basketball. Check it out.

This loss was very disappointing because of the simple fact that the Charlotte Hornets are a much better team than the Toronto Raptors. It’s extra disappointing because the Hornets proved that they can play dominate basketball, but it took them until the fourth quarter to realize this.

The most exciting part about this game was that Monk showed that he is worth more playing time, and a more prominent role in the rotation. Let’s see if coach James Borrego decides to give him more minutes in their game Saturday night against the Raptors.