While you were sleeping: Hornets streak snapped, but team shows fight

Charlotte Hornets v Golden State Warriors
Charlotte Hornets v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Hornets’ season-long four-game winning streak came to an end late Friday night (or early Saturday morning) as they fell 97-84 to the Warriors in Chase Center. The team looked like one playing on the second night of a road back-to-back, as they couldn’t hold onto the ball or make shots consistently.

It was clear early on that it wasn’t their night, and they never really got it going on offense. They were probably due for a dud, and combine the tough schedule with early foul trouble for Brandon Miller and they almost never had a chance.

Hornets defense a breath of fresh air

But it was nice to see that even on a very cold shooting night, facing multiple hall-of-famers on the road, the Hornets were able to stay in the game thanks to their defense. They easily could have gotten run out of the gym with their offensive display, but they were able to keep the Warriors to just 97 points and even held Stephen Curry to 15 points on 5/14 shooting.

That’s a pretty impressive effort for a team that was routinely letting up 120+ point nights to opponents up until a few weeks ago. So while the winning streak is over, the streak of holding teams below 110 points is up to 5 games, and this is the second time in three games they’ve kept a team from reaching the century mark.

Unfortunately, the Hornets could only muster 84 points of their own and it just wasn’t enough. But even in a tough loss, it was good to see the team fight right up until the final whistle. And that was truly the case as things got chippy in the waning seconds.

Fighting back

Second-year pro, Lester Quinones cut for a layup with 10 seconds left in the game when it seemed clear the Hornets had waved the white flag, and they took exception. Miles Bridges, the closest Hornet to Quinones met him with a nice forearm shove, and then new Hornet, and resident tough-guy, Grant Williams came flying in to defend his teammate, getting right in the face of Quinones and letting him know exactly how he felt about the play.

Quinones was hit with two technical fouls and was ejected, Grant was ejected for “escalating” the incident, and Bridges was assessed a technical as well. The game was out of hand, but this was a nice moment to see the team show some fight.

Williams has some edge and toughness to him, and having some of that rub off on his new teammates wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. He’s a guy you want in your foxhole, and it was completely unsurprising that he was the first player to race in and get right in the middle of it all. 

It felt like a bit of a statement, both literally and figuratively, that the Hornets are done getting pushed around. This is the kind of small thing that contributes to changing the culture, sticking up for yourself, and actually pushing back.