Charlotte Hornets: The Good and Bad from Thursday’s loss to the Raptors

The Charlotte Hornets dropped their second straight game on Thursday night in Tampa Bay to the Toronto Raptors.

Welcome back to Buckets and Bricks where we take a close look at the good and the bad of the Charlotte Hornets‘ (6-7) 111-108 loss to the Toronto Raptors (3-8).

The Hornets dropped their second straight game on Thursday night after a string of winning four streak games. The Hornets have an opportunity to redeem themselves on Saturday when they face the Raptors again.

The good from the Hornets’ loss to the Raptors

The Charlotte Hornets’ starting unit typically starts off games slow on offense, which has led to opponents jumping out to early leads. Despite the absence of forward Gordon Hayward, the Hornets came out the gate fast and aggressive. The Hornets attacked the rim, which led to great three point opportunities. The Hornets started 10/16 (62.5%) from the field and scored of four free throw resulting from attacks to the paint. The Hornets will continue to prioritize outside shooting but need to continue attack the rim to create high percentage outside opportunities.

The Hornets were active on defense causing the Raptors to turn the ball over 18 times, which included 11 steals.

The Hornets continue to move the ball around efficiently on offense, scoring off assists. The Hornets came into the game leading the league in team assists per game and will hold that lead after tonight by way of 33 total team assists, including a single player game high of 11 assists from LaMelo Ball.

The Hornets came into the game shooting 35.8% from three, ranked 18th in the league. Tonight versus the Raptors, the Hornets were able to connect on 42.9% of their three point attempts; the league leaders are the Los Angles Clippers at 42.9%. As a perimeter oriented team, the Hornets need to continue to hit threes at a higher rate. Relying on three point shooting while averaging 35.8% on attempts is not a recipe for success.

Malik Monk played his first extended minutes of the season. He came in during the first quarter and immediately engaged on both ends of the floor. Monk hit his first three shots, all from three. He finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Overall, the Hornets have not been a good offensive team this year. If Monk can take advantage of the time he has on the court while Hayward is out with a left hip strain, he may find himself back in the rotation, and give the Hornets’ offense a much needed shot in the arm.

The bad from the Hornets’ loss to the Raptors

Kudos to the Hornets for causing 18 turnovers (11 steals) from the Raptors. However, the Raptors did their fair share of creating turnovers. The Hornets turned the ball over 20 times, 13 of those were steals.

The Raptors were able to separate themselves from the Hornets in the second quarter by shooting 13/25 (52%) from three overall in first half. Fortunately for the Hornets’, the Raptors cooled down in the second half finishing 20/50 (40%). Still effective enough to keep the Hornets back when they made multiple runs to cut into the lead during the third and fourth quarters. The 20 Raptor three pointers were a season high allowed by the Hornets.

The Hornets allowed 99 points through three quarters. That’s what you would expect from a team that’s has consistently been top 10 in defensive efficiency this season. With their offensive limitations, the Hornets can not allow points to run up on them.

Star of the Game – PJ Washington

Back-to-back solid performances by PJ Washington. After struggling during the preseason and the early part of the season, Washington is starting to turn back into what we saw from him last season. For the first time in his career, Washington has registered back-to-back double-doubles. Also, tonight was his second career 20-10 game (Jan. 13, 2020 at Portland).

Final Stats: 20 PTS, 11 REB, 50% FG

That’s it for this edition of Buckets and Bricks. Let us know your feedback in the comments section, or on Twitter @SwarmnSting or @ShaolinShoGunMA