The Hornets are learning to play a full 48 minutes
To start the season, Charlotte played an extremely exciting game against Chicago, but nearly let the game slip away in the second half. Likewise, they played a solid first half against the Timberwolves before a disastrous quarter sunk the Hornets’ hopes of getting off to a 2-0 start. Then, after playing a competitive first two-and-a-half quarters against both the Lakers and Clippers, Charlotte suffered late game meltdowns in both contests. In total, the Hornets were outscored by 57 points in the second halves of the first four games–three of which were losses.
In two games since, the Hornets are on a two-game win streak and have outscored the Kings and Warriors by a combined 23 points in the second half of games. Against Golden State, the Hornets actually trailed at the end of the third and used an impressive fourth quarter to get back to .500. The early second-half implosions can be attributed to a few different things. One is the obvious difference in skill level. Matchups with Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James clearly weren’t in Charlotte’s favor from a talent standpoint. Another reason for the early losses is the youth of this team. Just four players on the Hornets’ roster is older than 26.
If Charlotte’s young core has indeed figured out how to compete in close games, then the rest of this season should be extremely exciting to watch. The Hornets’ batch of fresh talent has already shown that it can be competitive, now it’s just a matter of finishing games. Hopefully for fans, the players have learned how to play a full 48 minutes.