Short-handed Warriors come close, lose to Hornets 93-87

Photo credit: nba.com/warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors, depleted by injuries, faced the Charlotte Hornets with only nine players Saturday night at the Chase Center. The Warriors were without the services of Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell. Green was out due to a sprained index finger on his left hand, and he will not be available on Monday. Russell suffered a sprained ankle, and he may play on Monday. Head coach Steve Kerr’s starting lineup bore no resemblance to the Warrior team of the past five years. All five starters are in their first year with the Warriors. Three of the starters, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, and Ky Bowman, are rookies. Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson III have experience in the NBA as they were with other teams last year.

The young Warriors won the first and second quarters to finish the first half leading 55-50. The offense was led by rookie Eric Paschall, Glenn Robinson, Ky Bowman, and Damion Lee. Paschall had 12, Robinson 11, Lee 10, and Bowman 9.  The Hornets were led by Dwayne Bacon with 15. Point guard Terry Rozier, acquired from Boston in the trade for Kemba Walker, had 10. Forward P.J.Washington and big Cody Zeller each knocked down 8.

The Warriors and Hornets went tooth and nail in the third quarter. The name of the game in the third quarter was defense, The Warriors held the Hornets to just 18 points total in the period. The bad news was that the Warriors were held to 16 points. The team went ice cold late in the third period and could not buy a bucket. They still led by three points 71-68. That would have been a perfect time to end the game, and the Warriors would have recorded the win. Unfortunately, for Golden State, they had to play 12 more minutes. The fourth quarter was also a nail-biter. The Hornets took the lead 72-71.  The Dubs bounced back and regained it 75-74. The Hornets took a five-point lead 80-75.

The Warriors managed to tie it when Glenn Robinson hit a three to make it 80-80. The Hornets made a three, and the Warriors countered with a three. The Hornets made another three. The Warriors answered with a three to tie the game at 86. The Dubs made a free throw to go on top 87-86. They didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last time they would put points on the board. The Hornets then went ahead 88-87. Damion Lee turned the ball over to the Hornets when he was not able to inbound the basketball successfully. The ball went over to the Hornets. The Hornets missed on several free throws down the stretch, but the Warriors were not able to corral the rebounds. The Hornets’ Terry Rozier was fouled from behind. The referees awarded him two free throws and possession of the ball. The Hornets made all four free throws to win the game 93-87.

Game Notes: Even though the W’s lost for the fifth time in six games, all was not dismal. Eric Paschall, the rookie from Villanova, had a career night. He scored 25 points, had 4 rebounds, and two assists, and was the 41st player picked in the 2019 draft. In the six games in his young career, he has two games with 20 or more points. He looks to be the real deal, and the Warriors have to be pleased with his play. The other rookie that sparkled Saturday night was Ky Bowman. Bowman, a backup point guard, played his college ball at Boston College. He kicked in with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and made two three-pointers in six tries. Glenn Robinson was solid with 16 points, nine boards, and three assists. Robinson connected on four three in seven attempts. Damion Lee, coming off the bench, finished the night with 13. These were the bright spots in a losing effort.

Charlotte had five players in double figures. Dwayne Bacon had 25, Terry Rozier 20, Marvin Williams 11, P.J. Washington 11, and Cody Zeller 10.

The Warriors shot 44.2% from the floor. The Hornets outshot the Warriors 85-77.  They also outrebounded Golden State 48-40. The Warriors had five steals and five blocked shots on defense.

The Warriors held the Hornets to 43 points in the second half. Usually, that effort would get the team a win. The problem for Golden State was that they were held to just 32 points in the final 24 minutes of the game. The young players did not quit. They hustled and had a chance to win. The fans have to realize the fact that these players have only played together for six games. They also are missing Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, D’Angelo Russell, and Klay Thompson. It may be a long season. Still, players such as Eric Paschall, Glenn Robinson, Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole, and Damion Lee will be players that may contribute to the Warrior success later in the season when the key players return to action. Let’s hope they continue to improve.

Up Next: The Warriors return to action Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chase Center. The game will start at 7:30 pm.

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