Charlotte Hornets

Homestand will be so-so, after Charlotte Hornets fall to New Orleans Pelicans

Charlotte Hornets' Treveon Graham (21) and New Orleans Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins (0) battle for a loose ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center.
Charlotte Hornets' Treveon Graham (21) and New Orleans Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins (0) battle for a loose ball during the first half of Wednesday’s game at Spectrum Center. AP

Wednesday settled it: This five-game homestand will be just so-so for the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 101-96 at Spectrum Center. That leaves them 2-2 in this stretch with Friday’s home game against the Atlanta Hawks left before they play 10 of the next 12 on the road.

A turnover by point guard Kemba Walker in the last minute, looking to feed center Dwight Howard (22 points, 16 rebounds) in the post, pretty much settled this one. The Hornets fell to 19-27. The Pelicans improved to 26-21, as they chase a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Hornets fought back from an 11-point deficit in the first half, but never led by more than four points.

Three who mattered

Howard: Another game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, two days removed from his six-block game against the Sacramento Kings.

Marvin Williams: He reached a season high in rebounds (14) in a rough matchup, mostly guarding Anthony Davis.

DeMarcus Cousins: A double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) for the Pelicans’ center.

Observations

▪  Hornets forward Williams entered Wednesday’s game as the NBA’s leader in 3-point percentage, at 45.2 percent. Despite that gaudy percentage, Williams wasn’t invited to be part of the annual 3-point competition during All-Star Weekend next month in Los Angeles.

▪  This was Hornets center Howard’s 1,000th career NBA game. Coach Steve Clifford said this has probably been the 32-year-old Howard’s best season since his second one as a Houston Rocket (2014-15).

▪  Shelby’s Alvin Gentry made his one trip home this season as coach of the Pelicans. Gentry is now the answer to a great trivia question: What one college has alumni who are current NBA and NFL head coaches? (Appalachian State with Gentry and Steve Wilks of the Arizona Cardinals).

▪  It appears unlikely that the Hornets will have a representative in Los Angeles for any of the All-Star Weekend activities. All-Star Game 2019 will be at Spectrum Center.

▪  Howard was assessed his 10th technical foul of the season in the third quarter. If he reaches 16 this season, he will be suspended for a game.

Worth mentioning

▪  Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was back in the starting lineup after missing Monday’s home victory over the Sacramento Kings with an abscess in bis right arm.

▪  A small step in Hornets center Cody Zeller’s recovery from knee surgery: He ran through some plays in shootaround Wednesday morning. Zeller has still not been cleared for any scrimmaging.

▪  N.C. State great David Thompson (who is also Gentry’s cousin) was at the game.

Report card

C- OFFENSE: The 3-point shooting was brutal. William made one of his first five and Walker made two of his first seven.

B DEFENSE: They generally contained the Pelicans’ 1-2 big man punch.

C+ COACHING: The Hornets limited the Pelicans transition game, which isn’t easy.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

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