Cody Zeller opened the scoring with a dunk off a nice pocket pass from Dwayne Bacon. The Hornets found some easy buckets on the offensive end, but otherwise looked flat in the early minutes of the game. That won’t fly in the NBA, even against a depleted Warriors team. The Hornets scored their first 20 points in the paint before Malik Monk opened the scoring from deep with a 3-pointer. Jordan Poole hit a tough shot at the quarter horn to give the Warriors a 30-25 lead.
The lethargy carried over to the second quarter, and the Warriors pulled ahead to a double digit lead at one point. Terry Rozier and Dwayne Bacon took control of the offense, creating baskets for themselves to buoy the Hornets while their defense threatened to sink them. The duo scored 14 straight points for the Hornets through the middle parts of the quarter. The Hornets trailed by 10 with just under two minutes to play in the half, but Rozier found Washington at the rim with a dumpoff pass and Bacon finished an and-1 in transition to bring the Hornets to within five points at intermission.
That trend carried into the third quarter, where Bacon and Rozier scored the Hornets first 10 points and 13 of their first 15. A pair of Marvin Williams 3-pointers were the only Hornets points by anyone else on the roster. The Hornets finally tightened up on the defensive end, but couldn’t buy a bucket offensively. Miles Bridges had a chance to give the Hornets a lead, but his easy layup attempt rolled off the rim. The Warriors took a three point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets took their first lead since the early minutes of the game with a Cody Zeller tap-in. That bucket marked the end of a 4-0 Hornets run to start the quarter that took three minutes and 19 seconds to complete. A spinning layup gave Dwayne Bacon a career high 25 points and a Malik Monk layup off a loose ball a minute later gave the Hornets a five point lead, their largest of the game. A basketball game suddenly sprouted from this mess late in the fourth quarter. The teams combined to hit 3-pointers on four straight possessions. An Eric Paschall free throw gave the Warriors a one point lead, but it was answered by a Terry Rozier layup plus the foul, though he would miss the ensuing free throw.
With a one point lead and a minute to play, the Hornets subbed in Cody Martin for defensive purposes. That would be important. He forced an Eric Paschall miss, which put the Hornets in a position to seal the win. But Devonte’ Graham was called for a quick three seconds in the paint to give the ball back to the Warriors. On the ensuing inbound, Cody Martin deflected the ball and it was knocked out of bounds by the Warriors. They put Terry Rozier on the line. He missed both free throws, but defensive substitute Cody Martin tracked down the offensive rebound. He hit the first free throw, but his second went begging. Bacon tracked down the defensive rebound, and was tied up for a jump ball. Who recovered the tip? Mr. Cody Martin. The Hornets played the free throw game to set the final margin.
The Hornets finished the night just 5-for-29 from three after coming into the game leading the league in 3-point percentage. The offense looked disjointed all night. The ball movement we’ve seen so far was replaced by tough midrange jump shots out of isolation possessions. Thankfully this iteration of the Warriors didn’t have the talent to overcome the Hornets offensive woes.
The win gives the Hornets a 2-2 record on their California road trip, which is nothing to scoff at. They’ll have a couple days off before hosting the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.