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Hornets collapse late, lose to the Timberwolves 121-104

The Hornets led 96-93 with a little over eight minutes to go in the game. Then stuff went bad.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

An extremely entertaining back and forth game quickly went the way of the home team in the game’s final minutes. Jeremy Lamb had 18 points and 11 rebounds while Nicolas Batum chipped in with 18 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds; but it wasn’t enough as the Hornets went cold down the stretch.

The first half was marked by big runs by both teams. The Wolves jumped out to a quick 11-5 lead in the game’s first two and a half minutes. The Hornets responded with a run of their own and pulled ahead 27-21. But after all was said and done in the period, the game was tied at 31.

The Hornets started the second quarter with a 26-11 run. The Wolves fought back and tied the game at 62 before a Jeremy Lamb floater put the Hornets up two at intermission. Nicolas Batum came to life in the first half, scoring 12 points and assisting on five baskets. Lamb scored 12 of is own while Kemba scored 11.

The third quarter was a different kind of back and forth. Neither team held a lead of more than four points throughout the quarter. Jeremy Lamb hit a pair of free throws to tie the game, but on the next possession, his last second floater lipped out. After three, the game was tied 86-86.

Miles Bridges opened the Hornets’ fourth quarter scoring with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Back to back layups from Bridges and Frank Kaminsky put the Hornets up three and forced a Tom Thibodeau timeout. Karl-Anthony Towns scored five straight after the break and forced James Borrego to call a timeout of his own. The Hornets went cold, not scoring between 8:11 and 5:11 in the final quarter. The Hornets only scored eight points in the final eight minutes of the game, and six of those came in garbage time. The Wolves poured in 28 points over that same time span and walked away with a 121-104 win.

The Hornets have now lost three straight games for the first time this season and remain winless against the Western Conference. They looked good for the first 40 minutes or so before collapsing in spectacular fashion down the stretch. Up next is another game against the West, this time at home against the Denver Nuggets.