It’s hard to win when you simply can’t put the ball through the basket.
The Hornets shot just four of 24 in the fourth quarter, which blew what had been an eight-point lead in a 94-92 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Hornets fell to 0-3 this season despite a strong all-around performance by Nicolas Batum (16 points, eight assists and five rebounds) and Kemba Walker (17 points, six assists and six rebounds).
Walker missed a corner jump shot in the final seconds that could have thrown the game into overtime.
The Hornets showed some progress in ball movement, finishing the game with 27 assists on 32 made baskets. They also limited their second-half turnovers to two after committing 10 in the first half.
Three who mattered
Nicolas Batum: His three 3-pointers in the third quarter started the Hornets on a comeback from what had been a 14-point deficit.
Jeremy Lamb: He’s what you want from a sixth man in that he seems immediately ready to impact the game as a scorer off the bench.
Kent Bazemore: The Hawks’ small forward generated 20 points off 12 shots from the field.
▪ Hornets owner Michael Jordan took a seat next to the Hornets’ bench for the home opener.
▪ Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, a former basketball coach, showed up for Sunday’s game, as did North Carolina coach Roy Williams and his wife.
▪ The Hawks never attempted a free throw in the first half despite scoring 34 points in the lane.
▪ Friday’s turnovers problems – the Hornets committed 20 in Atlanta – bled into the first half Sunday: 10 turnovers before halftime.
▪ Marvin Williams has probably been the most consistent player on a most inconsistent team so far. He generated nine first-half points off seven shots from the field.
▪ Troy Daniels (hamstring) was available to play for the first time this season. That meant rookie Aaron Harrison was inactive.
▪ It took until 6:14 remaining in the third quarter for the Hawks to get to the foul line. Reserve center Tiago Splitter took those free throws.
▪ Jeremy Lamb has such a quick release on his jump shot; Dell Curry-like.
C OFFENSE: Awful fourth-quarter shooting wasted a day of improved ball movement.
B DEFENSE: Holding a team like the Hawks, with so many scoring options, to 94 points is no easy day at the office.
C COACHING: Steve Clifford made some progress in his message that the Hornets can’t let the ball stick at the offensive end.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell