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Hornets can’t close out Pelicans, lose 115-110

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Devonte’ Graham had another huge game off the bench.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Devonte’ Graham had 24 points and 10 assists off the bench and Terry Rozier bounced back with 18 points, but a poor fourth quarter did the Charlotte Hornets in as they lost to the New Orleans Pelicans, 115-110.

Miles Bridges opened the Hornets’ scoring with a swooping right handed runner off the glass. Offense was hard to come by, but the Pelicans helped out with three technical fouls, two on defensive three second calls and one on JJ Redick for arguing a call. Devonte’ Graham checked in for the first time at the seven minute mark and immediately made an impact. He found PJ Washington for buckets on the interior three times in about two-and-a-half minutes and scored a bucket of his own shortly after. The teams shot a lot of free throws in the first quarter, and the Hornets trailed by five at the end of it.

The teams turned the ball over back and forth twice apiece in the first minute of the second quarter. The Pelicans for their part turned the ball over on their first six possessions of the quarter. It took the Pelicans twelve possessions before they scored their first bucket, with eight of those possessions ending in turnovers. Malik Monk had himself a quarter, hitting two tough runners before this:

Cody Marting followed with a big dunk of his own to cap off a 13-0 Hornets run before E’Twaun Moore banked in a jumper from the top of the key at the shot clock buzzer. That got the Pelicans back on track a bit, and the teams exchanged baskets the rest of the half. At the break, the Hornets led 61-55.

PJ Washington tweaked his ankle 17 seconds into the second half, but he would return to the game later in the quarter. The Hornets had a chance to push their lead to double figures, but Terry Rozier couldn’t find the bottom of the net from deep. The Pelicans responded with eight straight points. A Hornets timeout was followed by three turnovers and a missed shot, forcing James Borrego to take a second timeout after just a minute and 14 seconds of game time. With just under three minutes to play in the third quarter, the Hornets had turned the ball over 21 times. The Pelicans weren’t any better in that regard, which helped the Hornets keep their lead. Devonte’ Graham rattled in a step back 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a five point lead heading into the fourth.

The teams played sloppy but even basketball for the first parts of the fourth quarter. Alvin Gentry called a timeout after a Dwayne Bacon fast break layup, and that proved to be the turning point of the game. The Pelicans scored ten straight points, including one possession that saw them track down five offensive rebounds. The run gave the Pelicans an eight point lead. The teams played helter skelter basketball in the final couple minutes and scored a bunch of points; 27 total points were scored in the final three minutes of the game. The bucket exchange worked for the leading Pelicans, and they held on for the five point win.

The referees stole the show in this one. The teams were called for 55 fouls, six travels, and two delay of games. A large percentage of those fouls were for seemingly innocuous plays away from the ball. It was fair officiating, but it did make for a cumbersome viewing experience.

Devonte’ Graham continued his stellar play off the bench with his second double double of the season. All five Hornets starters scored in double figures while Cody Martin and Malik Monk fell just short of that mark with nine points apiece. The Hornets turned the ball over a ton, but they did have an impressive 27 assists on 36 made baskets.

There’s no time to dwell on this loss. The Hornets are in Philadelphia tonight to take on a 76ers team looking to snap a three game losing streak.