An NBA team going four days of the regular season without a game is a rarity.
That break maybe couldn’t come at a better time for the Charlotte Hornets, losers of their last four games. The flaws were mostly on defense the first three of those losses. They played better defensively Friday in Boston, particularly in the first half, but ultimately blew an 18-point lead to the Celtics.
After a day off Saturday, the Hornets had the first of three days of practice. Clifford’s Hornets teams have been meticulous in their preparation, but there’s been slippage in that regard in a 5-7 start this season.
“That’s what these three days are for: We’ve got to be more disciplined and consistent about what we’re doing,” Clifford said.
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“Where we’re falling short is details. When you’re not good at the little things, that’s where you give up 8-0 runs, or you come down and blow (offensive) sets or blow coverages. Those are things we’ve always been really good at, and we’re not.”
Clifford has set a goal of top five in defensive efficiency this season. They are currently 13th, allowing 1.026 points per opponent possession. Offensively, they are 22nd among 30 teams, averaging 1.011 points per possession.
Hornets veteran forward Marvin Williams said ultimately it falls on the players, not the coaches, to be accountable for repeated mistakes.
“Details have really been emphasized as long as I’ve been in Charlotte,” Williams said. “Cliff will take all the blame, and it’s not his fault. It’s up to us players to be professional. He’ll tell us things two, three, four times (without it changing) and with a professional athlete that should never happen.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell