CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Clippers ran into a hornets' nest Saturday night, surrendering to the Charlotte Hornets, 130-96, before 24,042 at the Charlotte Coliseum.
"We hit bottom tonight," Coach Bill Fitch said after the Clippers suffered their worst defeat since a 38-point loss at Denver on Feb. 21, 1995. "The first half I can live with, but the fourth quarter was a French game, gar-bage. It was not a fun night."
The Clippers, who have lost seven of their first eight games, face the undefeated Atlanta Hawks (9-0) tonight.
"The NBA may have a scheduling problem," Fitch said. "Atlanta, if they were watching this game, may not show up tomorrow because they think we won't be coming."
Reserve swingman Lorenzen Wright, who had 12 points and six rebounds, said the Clippers gave up.
"We've always seemed to fight back, but tonight it seemed that no one wanted to do that," Wright said after the Clippers were outscored, 68-46, in the second half. "This is the worst we've played.
"I think this was a wake-up call for us."
Forward Rodney Rogers, who had a team-best 24 points, said it was embarrassing. Rogers, who attended Wake Forest, bought tickets for 34 family members and friends.
"I don't know what it was," said Rogers, who made seven of 16 shots but missed five of eight shots in the second half. "Maybe we ran out of gas. We definitely need to find out what it was and correct the problem."
All-Star forward Glen Rice scored a season-best 36 points, making 13 of 19 shots, including three of four three-point shots.
"I'm not going to knock the Clippers," Rice said. " . . . They've struggled over the years. Eventually, their time will come."
Rice scored 18 points in the first quarter, two shy of the franchise record, as the Hornets (5-3), won for the third time in four home games this season.
"Glen Rice is an all-star player," Fitch said. "I didn't like the job that some of our players were doing on him tonight, but even when you do like the jobs people do on him, he still has a big night."
Former Laker center Vlade Divac, averaging 14.4 points and 10 rebounds in his last five games, made all five shots he took and had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Clipper center Stojko Vrankovic, who played with Divac in the 1988 Olympic Games, missed four of five shots and had six points and three rebounds in 15 minutes as the Clippers were outrebounded, 51-34.
Fitch benched him for all but three minutes of the final three quarters.
"It looks like they don't go to him enough on offense," Divac said. "He's struggling. It's tough to play when nobody gives you a chance to do something on offense. You don't feel right.
"They've got to work the ball in to him to build his confidence. Now, I think his confidence is very low, very low."