The Hornets (4-1) finally came out flat for a game, and it cost them their first game of the season. Coming off back to back 99 pace factor games, the sluggishness was understandable, and the Hornets still nearly ended up winning off a monster 34-18 game by David West. A look at the five factors, and why the Hornets lost today:
1. Shooting (X) Games like this have to be expected throughout the course of the season; the Hornets nearly pulled this one off despite shooting a cartoonishly bad percent from the field. David West’s 34-18 almost nearly offset the 40.8% eFG and the Hornets also did a great job on the defensive end. Nonetheless, a bad shooting night is a bad shooting night, and had the Hornets shot league average tonight, this would’ve been a comfortable win.
2. Turnovers (√) The low turnover rate continued against Portland. The Hornets are just doing a great job taking care of the ball. Again, the forced turnovers weren’t really there, but if the Hornets can avoid giving the ball away, that should be just fine.
3. Offensive Rebounding (√) After that disturbing downtrend on the OREB numbers, the Hornets responded emphatically tonight, putting up their best OREB% stat of the year. David West nearly singlehandedly created this stellar figure, grabbing 8 offensive boards himself. Portland, though, did put up the best OREB% numbers against the Hornets this year.
4. Free Throws (√) Both teams were almost dead even in the FT stat, and this contributed least of all to the outcome.
5. Pace (93) The Hornets were finally able to play a slower-paced game; had the Blazers actually managed to push the pace to 95+ tonight, this could have been a blowout in Portland’s favor. This is the second time this year the Hornets have played at 93, after an opening-night win against Sacramento.
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