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Slow start to fourth quarter dooms Hornets as they lose the Nets, 111-104

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The Hornets couldn’t celebrate the debut of the City jerseys in style.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets back court continued its strong run of play, combining for 53 points, 12 assists, and 11 3-pointers made, but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 111-104.

The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Hornets. Devonte’ Graham ran into Garrett Temple while trying to push the ball ahead in transition on the Hornets’ first possession and hurt his shoulder. He went straight to the locker room. Even without their best offensive player, the Hornets started the game on a 10-3 before a Nets 3-point barrage undid the advantage. Seven of the Nets first eight made field goals came from deep, but the Hornets stayed afloat. Graham returned less than nine game minutes after his injury no worse for the wear. He hit a pull-up midrange jump shot on his second possession after reentering the game. Cody Zeller scored seven straight points for the Hornets in the late portions of the quarter, the first on an and-1 layup (he missed the free throw), a 3-pointer, and a fast break dunk after he jumped the passing lane on the perimeter. It helped the Hornets to a three point lead after one.

The second quarter started slowly for both teams. 3-pointers from Graham and PJ Washignton and a dunk by DeAndre Jordan were the only three baskets in the first four and a half minutes of the quarter. That suddenly changed in the next three minutes, where the teams combined for 25 points, capped off by a monster alley oop from Graham to Washington. The teams traded baskets at a normal rate for the rest of the half, and the Hornets went into the half with a four point lead. The best of those baskets was this ankle breaker by Terry Rozier.

After a relatively even start to the third quarter, the Nets went on their first significant run of the game. They went on a 14-4 run to turn a one point deficit into a nine point lead. Devonte’ Graham hit three 3-pointers in the next couple minutes to pull back into the game. They eventually tied when the Nets fouled Graham in an attempt to stop his 3-point explosion. He made all three free throws. A pair of DeAndre Jordan 3-pointers gave the Nets a two point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s where the Nets went on their second big run. The Hornets didn’t score in the fourth quarter until the 6:31 mark. In that time, the Nets scored 12 points and amassed a 14 point lead. The Hornets hung around thanks in large part to some tough shot making by Graham and Terry Rozier, but they couldn’t make a significant dent in the Nets lead. The closest they got was seven on this PJ Washington dunk:

Poor Joe Harris.

The Nets scored six straight points after that dunk to seal the game. A pair of Terry Rozier 3-pointers set the final margin.

Devonte’ Graham continues to amaze. Even with his early shoulder injury, he finished with 29 points and eight assists while connecting on 6-of-11 from deep. Terry Rozier joined in on the fun with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-7 from deep. Cody Zeller had a huge night off the bench, finishing with 17 points and six rebounds. PJ Washington was the last Hornet in double figures with 14, though he took 16 shots to get there.

The Hornets will get Saturday off before an early evening matchup against the porous Hawks on Sunday.