Charlotte Hornets: Controversial “No-Call” Leads To Third Straight Loss

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: P.J. Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets posts up Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors during a game at Amalie Arena on January 16, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16: P.J. Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets posts up Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors during a game at Amalie Arena on January 16, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets came into Saturday night’s game looking to get back to their winning ways, unfortunately, the Toronto Raptors had other plans. Once again, the Hornets came out of the gate hot building an early lead. Unfortunately, the Hornets once again gave up their lead and lost on Saturday night, making that their third straight loss.

It was a “back-and-forth” kind of game, and so it is difficult to point to one moment or one quarter that was the contributing factor in their loss. But if there was a moment that could be pointed out, it would be the first quarter. The Charlotte Hornets were beating the Raptors 14 to 2 with 6:50 left in the quarter, and at one point in the quarter, the Raptors went on a 21 to 5 run. They won the quarter 31 to 27.

This was what the Hornets did in their game against the Raptors on Thursday as well. In each game, they got out to early leads, just to see them falter down the stretch. The most frustrating aspect of this is that the Hornets are a better team than the Raptors. By allowing the Raptors to make that big run, the Hornets opened the door for confidence and momentum to walkthrough for the Raptors, and it did just that.

After the big run by the Raptors, the Hornets got back on track. They won both the second quarter and the third quarter by 2 points and 1 point, respectively. Unfortunately, this was not enough to win the game. Once the Raptors had confidence, they held on to it for the entire game. As I said above, the game was well played, with both teams going back and forth.

No matter what transpired throughout the game, the Hornets had a chance to tie it up with 3.4 seconds left in the fourth. Gordon Hayward inbounded the ball to Terry Rozier, where Rozier shot the three-pointer to tie it up. He missed the shot but was visibly upset, thinking that he got fouled on the shot. You can decide for yourself.

Whether he was fouled, or he wasn’t, the Hornets lost the game which put them at two games under the .500 mark.

A bright spot for the Charlotte Hornets was how well Gordon Hayward played after coming off of his hip strain injury. Hayward was all over the court and he led the team in points, scoring 25 points in 38 minutes of play. He went 53.8% (7/13) from the field, including 33.3% (1/3) from the three-point line.

Gordon Hayward’s most impressive stat, and one that the Hornets’ front office is the proudest of, is his free-throw numbers. Hayward went 10 for 10 from the charity stripe. Not only does this show that he is insanely good at free-throws, but it also shows that he knows how to draw the foul and get to the free-throw line.

Terry Rozier was second on the team in scoring, getting 24 points and going 47.4% (9/19) from the field and 50% (6/12) from beyond the arc. Rozier came up big in this game. He was really the player that kept the Hornets in the game the whole time, making key plays and clutch shots when the team needed them.

Devonte’ Graham was third in scoring, getting 20 points by going 46.7% (7/15) from the field, including 44.4% (4/9) from three. This was the game where Graham looked more like himself. He came up with some clutch three-point shots, including the one where he cut the lead to 113-114.

PJ Washington once again had a great night, earning another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He is showing his value by contending for boards down low, and scoring difficult points. He once again outscored and out-rebounded Bismack Biyombo.

LaMelo Ball had a solid night, scoring 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. He went 36.4% (4/11) from the field, including 33.3% (2/6) from three. Miles Bridges was right under Ball in scoring, getting 10 points on 2 of 7 from the field and hitting one three-pointer in three attempts. He also went 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.

Whether there was a missed call or not, the Hornets should have never let it get to that point because they are the better team. If there has been one constant about this Hornets’ team, it’s that they play to the level of their competition. This needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The Hornets will have a few days to think about this loss and fix the things that need to be fixed. They don’t play again until Wednesday when they host Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards.