Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets’ defense lacking in loss to Utah Jazz

Nicolas Batum on fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert

Charlotte Hornets’ Nic Batum on fellow Frenchman and Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert
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Charlotte Hornets’ Nic Batum on fellow Frenchman and Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert

The Charlotte Hornets’ defense has been behind the offense this season, but not this far behind.

The Hornets gave up a slew of wide-open 3-pointers to fall to the Utah Jazz 119-111 Friday at Spectrum Center. The Hornets never led, falling to 11-11 for the season.

The Jazz (11-12) made 18-of-40 from 3-point range, with reserve Jae Crowder going 6-of-10 from the arc. Jazz center Rudy Gobert had a huge night with 20 points and 17 rebounds.

The Hornets got 20 points and nine assists from veteran backup point guard Tony Parker, who played a season-high 32 minutes.

Jeremy Lamb had 24 points for the Hornets and Kemba Walker had 21.

Three who mattered

Parker: Was asked to play much longer minutes than typical this season and they needed them on a night when Malik Monk was still recovering from an injury.

Gobert: Has evolved into much more than just a goalie at the rim.

Crowder: He continuously nailed open 3-pointers for Utah.


Gobert’s ability to protect the rim is exceptional. One way teams look to reduce his impact is to make him come out of the lane to guard. That put a premium Friday on Hornets big men with range, such as Frank Kaminsky and Marvin Williams, looking for 3-point shots.

Charlotte Hornets’ Tony Parker (9) drives against Utah Jazz’s Raul Neto (25) during the second half in Charlotte on Friday. Parker, 36, played more than 32 minutes in the 119-111 loss by the Hornets. Chuck Burton AP

Hornets starting center Cody Zeller suffered a left rib contusion in the first half and did not return.

Hornets coach James Borrego is mindful of 36-year-old Parker’s minutes. However, Friday Parker played 16 minutes in the first half, roughly what they anticipated playing him per game this season.

With Zeller out, Kaminsky started the second half and the Hornets played portions of the second half in small-ball, with a front-court of Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Hornets guard Malik Monk played sparingly Friday after missing the second half of Wednesday’s home victory over the Atlanta Hawks with a quad contusion.

Worth mentioning

Kyle Korver, newly acquired in trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, entered the game for the Jazz midway through the first quarter.

Center Bismack Biyombo was the Hornet designated inactive Friday. It was the seventh consecutive game Biyombo hasn’t played, his third consecutive deactivation.

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, sat courtside near the Hornets’ bench.

They said it

“His shooting the ball off the dribble from the 3-point line, I think he’s the best in the league.” – Jazz coach Quin Synder on Kemba Walker.

“They filter their entire defense through him. So we’ve got to move him around.” – Borrego on Gobert.

Report card

B OFFENSE: Hornets were surprisingly effective scoring in the lane.

D DEFENSE: The closeouts on the Jazz’s 3-point attempts were consistently poor.

C+ COACHING: James Borrego was searching for right combinations with Zeller and Monk injured.