Old pal Frank Kaminksy got the start at center for the Suns, and the Hornets took advantage early with post up buckets from Bismack Biyombo and PJ Washington. Other than that, the Hornets played awful basketball on both ends of the floor. They turned the ball over nine times and several transition dunks simply by not hustling back in defensive transition. Despite the poor play, the Hornets only trailed by seven after one quarter thanks to a 5-0 finish sparked by Cody Zeller. Zeller threw down a dunk and then found Marvin Williams for three after an offensive rebound to finish the quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same. They turned the ball over six more times and let the Suns shoot 55% from the field. To add injury to insult, Nicolas Batum left with discomfort in his previously injured hand and wouldn’t return to the game. Little by little, the Suns built up a 20 point lead heading into the half.
Fortunately for everybody watching, the fun Hornets showed up for the second half. PJ Washington started the half with a dunk. After a few traded baskets, the Hornets went on an 11-2 run that included the second coming of the Bismack Biyombo Euro step.
Devin Booker showed up with 10 points and and a couple assists after being nearly invisible for the entire first half. The Hornets did a good job making life difficult for him though and forced a number of turnovers from the Suns star. The Hornets pulled as close as five points, but a Ty Jerome fadeaway in the lane at the buzzer put the Suns up seven heading into the fourth.
Marvin Williams opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a mismatch post up, which was his go to play tonight. Devonte’ Graham was called for an odd offensive foul a couple possessions later, but the call was changed to a defensive foul after a coach’s challenge. Dwayne Bacon off all people scored the two buckets that tied the game and then gave the Hornets their first lead of the night. The Suns briefly retook the lead on a pair of Kelly Oubre free throws, but it didn’t last long thanks to back to back threes from Marvin Williams and Terry Rozier. A pair of Devonte’ Graham free throws put the Hornets up seven with just over a minute to go, which for a normal team might be enough to call it a game. But this is the Hornets, and they can’t finish a game without some drama.
Frank Kaminsky hit a layup while getting fouled. He missed the ensuing free throw, but chased down his own rebound and found Kelly Oubre for a three. After an empty Hornets possession, Ricky Rubio found Kelly Oubre for another three. The Suns had gone an 8-0 run in just two possessions, giving them a one point lead with 19.8 seconds to go. They turned it over on the ensuing inbound, which all but sealed the game.
Williams scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half, many coming in the paint and at the free throw line as he took advantage of the Suns switching defense. Devonte’ Graham overcame some scattershot shooting to finish with another double double (15 points, 13 assists). Both Hornets centers played well, each narrowly missing double doubles of their own.
The Hornets will try to bounce back against the Warriors on Wednesday.
Which loss was more heartbreaking?
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The Bulls game