The Hornets came out of the gates firing, hitting three 3-pointers in their first five possessions. After that, the game looked a lot like the previous two meetings between these teams. The Nets got into the paint at will, drawing fouls and converting easy baskets around the rim. Charlotte gave up 34 points and trailed by eight heading into the second quarter.
The game went off the rails quickly in the second quarter. By the 7:44 mark of the quarter, the Hornets trailed by 20. The Nets bench did most of the damage, particularly Theo Pinson. He scored 10 points in the buildup to that lead, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Hornets slowly chipped away at that deficit without going on any significant scoring spurt. The Nets helped with some very sloppy turnovers while the Hornets ground out some points with fouls and tough baskets around the rim. By halftime, the Hornets had whittled the deficit to 11.
The third quarter was full of bad basketball. Jarrett Allen sat off every Hornets screen and roll, baiting the Hornets into settling for midrange jump shots. And we know how midrange offenses work in 2019. Fortunately for the Hornets, the Nets did things like step out of bounds and palm the ball while uncontested in the back court to prevent themselves from completely blowing the game open. As has often been the case this season, Devonte’ Graham stabilized the Hornets offense in times of peril. He drew a couple crafty fouls and hit the free throws and hit the first of four straight 3-pointers by he and Miles Bridges (two apiece) to end the quarter. Heading into the fourth, the Hornets only trailed by two.
The Hornets went to a zone defense that confounded the Nets for several minutes. By the midway point of the quarter, the Nets had only scored eight points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made some surprising offensive contributions with a pair of free throws and a layup. Devonte’ Graham answered a couple Nets buckets with his sixth 3-pointer of the game. A 5-0 Nets run tied the game with just over a minute to go, and then Graham took over. He hit back-to-back pull up jumpers over Joe Harris, one with his foot on the line and one from three to give him 40 points on the night and the Hornets a five point lead with 22.7 seconds to go. The free throw game set the final score.
Devonte’ Graham’s star turn continues. Teams are game planning for him and he’s still getting buckets at will. He led the majority of the comeback for the Hornets.
Miles Bridges deserves a lot of credit for his perseverance. He had a brutal first half, missing all seven of his field goal attempts and failing to score a point. He didn’t get down though and hit a couple huge buckets to get up to 14 points and help fuel the Hornets comeback.
PJ Washington scored 13 points on just six shots. MKG scored 11 points off the bench and even hit a 3-pointer.
The Hornets look to make it three in a row in Chicago on Friday.