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A strong second half from the Clippers proved the difference on Thursday as the Hornets dropped their third game in the last four contests, 113-90.
It was a game of runs on Thursday that started with Charlotte leading through the opening minutes of the first quarter. Once the Clippers took the lead, the margin quickly grew to nearly double digits heading into the second period.
However, the Hornets had one of their best defensive quarters of the season in that second frame, limiting the Clippers to 13 points to take a 47-44 lead into the break.
The Clippers quickly rebounded by taking the lead back in the third quarter before the Hornets went ice cold offensively as Los Angeles blew the game open in the fourth quarter, leading by double digits nearly throughout on their way to a comfortable win.
LaMelo Ball had 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead Charlotte. Bismack Biyombo tallied 13 while Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels and Cody Zeller had 10 points apiece.
The Good: Defense
It feels odd to say the defense was a bright spot for the Hornets on a night when they lost going away in the fourth quarter and gave up well over 100 points. While it wasn't great over the course of the game, it was great for the second quarter, which allowed the team to get back into the contest. and even have the lead at the halftime break. In that second period, they allowed just 13 points to one of the best offenses in the league, which is no small feat. It's a small positive to build on moving into the weekend in two far more winnable games.
The Bad: Offense
The Hornets trailed by just three points late in the third quarter despite being outscored at the 3-point line at that time 45-21. That was unsustainable over the long run and the Clippers eventually blew the game wide open in the final minutes of the third and first half of the fourth quarter. At the end of the night, the Clippers had 21 3-pointers to Charlotte's eight. That's a nearly 40-point difference in a game with a final margin of half that. Charlotte has found itself in some offensive funks that have cost them at times this year and if they can't correct that quickly, it could spell a swift end to their season.
LaMelo Ball: Jumper returns
While Ball largely looked healthy and was impactful since his return from injury, the one area of concern was his jumper. Fortunately, he started knocking down some long-range efforts on Thursday, finishing 3-of-4 from range and 5-of-10 overall for 18 points. He also chipped in seven assists, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes. He led the team in scoring and was the brightest spot from Charlotte on the night.