CHARLOTTE — The Hornets were outscored by 17 points in the fourth quarter and dropped a 115-90 decision at home to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon.
Without Gordon Hayward (NBA Health and Safety protocols), Kelly Oubre Jr. (ankle) and Jalen McDaniels (ankle), the Hornets (28-23) had a season-low 90 points as the offense struggled. In its only scheduled afternoon home contest of the season, the team shot under 33% from the field and under 24% from behind the arc.
“Offensively, we just went dry. We couldn’t make shots and we had poor decisions,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “They sped us up — they’re a good defense, so you have to give them credit. We hung in there as long as we could, and then it opened up and we obviously struggled into the third and into the fourth.”
For the Clippers (26-26), the lack of two perennial NBA All-Stars — Kawhi Leonard (knee) and Paul George (elbow) — didn’t slow the team’s offense.
Reggie Jackson and Brandon Boston Jr. each scored 19 points, while Marcus Morris Sr. added 16 points to the mix. Former Duke Blue Devils Justise Winslow and Luke Kennard came off the bench to combine for 27 points and 18 rebounds.
LaMelo Ball led the Hornets in scoring with 23 points (8 for 19 from the field), six rebounds and 10 assists, but the reigning league Rookie of the Year said that Charlotte failed to bring the on-court intensity it needed.
“We were definitely a little lackadaisical I feel,” Ball said. “We pretty much just had to get stops and we didn’t get enough to win the game.”
Miles Bridges added 18 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte, and Mason Plumlee, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington and James Bouknight each scored 10 points. Rozier, who was 4 or 14 from the field, played a team-high 40 minutes for the shorthanded Hornets.
“I’ve got to be better — it started with me,” Rozier said. “I think it was in the first quarter where we let them feel themselves. They’re not a terrible team at all, but they don’t have any superstars. They probably just went into the game not caring what happened. We let them stick around and feel too comfortable.”
The Hornets have now lost three of their past five games following a stretch in which they won seven out of eight.
The group will look for a rebound performance on Wednesday night as it heads to Boston to face the Celtics (26-25). The teams split their two previous meetings — the Celtics won 140-129 on Oct. 25 in Charlotte, but the Hornets bounced back for a 111-102 win in Boston Jan. 19.