ATLANTA — It wasn’t Charlotte’s evening as soon as it acquired to the sector … and even on the way in which. With the group bus blocked by a stopped freight practice on the tracks one should cross to entry the participant tunnel, a number of gamers needed to stroll the ultimate block into Atlanta’s State Farm Arena earlier than Wednesday’s sport towards the Hawks.

The Hornets have been hit by a distinct freight practice within the 9-10 portion of the Play-In Tournament for the second straight yr, dropping 132-103 to Atlanta on Wednesday. The Hawks scored on a mind-boggling 14 straight possessions in a 31-13 third-quarter run, turning a aggressive sport right into a laugher.

The truth they misplaced once more on this spherical makes it seem to be the Hornets are a bit like that practice — probably not going anyplace. That half isn’t fairly proper, nevertheless. Charlotte jumped from 33 wins a season in the past to 43 this yr, improved its web score by 2.4 factors per sport, and put LaMelo Ball within the All-Star Game. There have been shortcomings and disappointments, and we’ll get to these in a second, however it’s simple to overlook the positives within the wake of such a bizarre, disappointing ending.

Weird? Oh, it acquired bizarre all proper, between the Hornets’ second-half no-show, Miles Bridges’ out-of-character ejection and mouthpiece chuck, and a postgame information convention from coach James Borrego that appeared closely centered on defending his file. (Borrego’s contract was prolonged in August, however my sense is that when a coach spends this a lot time discussing his personal efficiency, there is perhaps a motive for that.)

Meanwhile, the most important story of Charlotte’s offseason is prone to be anyone who wasn’t even there on Wednesday.

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