Recap: More players get injured as Hornets lose to Pelicans, 115-96

Mar 24, 2023 - 10:00 AM
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Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets have no guards left. Terry Rozier (foot), Kelly Oubre (shoulder), and Dennis Smith Jr. (illness) all left early as the Hornets lost to the New Orleans Pelicans, 115-106.

The Pelicans jumped out to a quick 9-1 lead as Jonas Valanciunas rewarded Nick Richards’ new contract extension by eating his lunch to start the game. A couple of PJ Washington 3-pointers stabilized the Hornets, and they were able to play more evenly with the Pelicans for the next stretch of play. JT Thor had a couple of notable defensive plays after entering the game, but the play of the team as a whole started to crater as more of the bench filtered in. The Pelicans went on an 11-2 run with most of those points coming in multiples of three and all but two coming from Brandon Ingram. Ingram ended up with 17 first quarter points and six first quarter assists and put the Hornets in a 13 point hole after one.

The second quarter was much better for the Hornets on the scoreboard but it didn’t come without a cost. Kelly Oubre left the game with a right shoulder strain and Terry Rozier left with foot discomfort. Despite their absences, the Hornets were able to cut into the lead thanks to some aggressive play from PJ Washington. Gordon Hayward and Svi Mykhailiuk chipped in too as the Hornets made 64% of their field goals and reduced the deficit to five heading into the half.

The Hornets let the Pelicans start the second half with a mini run to create a near-10 point stiff arm. The injury bug (or some other bug) bit again as Dennis Smith had to leave the game. He scurried to the locker room at a stoppage of play and was ruled out for the contest because he was not feeling well. Bryce McGowens shared most of the point guard duties with Gordon Hayward due to all of the absences and acquitted himself well. He notched four assists in the third quarter alone as the depleted Hornets kept pace with the Pelicans. After three, the Hornets trailed by seven.

The Hornets finally ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. After a shaky start, the bottom dropped out. The Hornets went from the 9:09 mark to the 3:40 mark without a single point. The Pelicans scored 12 straight during the drought to open up a 23 point lead. Nothing of much consequence happened in the fourth other than that run, and the Pelicans cruised to a late win.

The Hornets got decently encouraging performances from their depth. Svi Mykhailiuk had 15 points off the bench. Bryce McGowens, JT Thor, and Kair Jones had some moments. Nick Richards was decent after getting eaten up early in the game. The Hornets are just bad and extra injured now.

No rest for the weary though. The Hornets will be back in action tonight in Dallas.

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