Terry Rozier scored a game high 27 points while Miles Bridges chipped in 26 points with six 3-pointers made, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Charlotte Hornets fell to the Toronto Raptors in overtime, 112-110.
Miles Bridges opened the scoring with a quick layup out of deep post position. After a couple traded baskets, the Hornets scored 11 straight points (nine of them coming from 3-pointers off the hands of the Hornets sophomores) to take an early nine point lead. Devonte’ Graham received one of the biggest compliments he’s received all season when the Raptors put 6’6” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the Hornets point guard as much as possible. Still the Hornets led by two after one. Miles Bridges made three 3-pointers in the quarter, and Malik Monk did this:
Miles Bridges splashed two more triples in the first couple minutes of the second quarter, giving him five for the game. Rozier hit back to back 3-pointers from the opposite corner a couple minutes later. The Raptors answered with several 3-pointers of their own along away as neither team was able to distance itself from the other. The Hornets largest lead was six, but the Raptors overcame that with a 15-4 run and a took five point lead into the half.
Bridges kept up his strong play to start the second half. PJ Washington found him for an easy alley oop out of a high low action, then he hit another confident 3-pointer from the corner. He threw this dunk in out of nowhere while the Raptors were on a run.
That run gave the Raptors a lead of around ten points that they sustained for several minutes. But this is the Hornets. They aren’t fazed by a double digit deficit. They finished the quarter on a 13-2 run, capped off by a brilliant fast break find from Malik Monk to PJ Washington for a dunk then a Dwayne Bacon 3-pointer at the buzzer.
But through all the fanfare and the points, Cody Zeller gave us the highlight of the quarter. He and Chris Boucher exchanged words while waiting for free throws. Zeller out-muscled Boucer to grab the missed free throw and drew a foul on Boucher in the process. He gave him a nice tap on the backside to applaud his efforts.
The Hornets run continued into the fourth quarter. In all, they scored 16 straight points to take a six point lead. Terry Rozier drained a 3-pointer to give the Hornets a ten point lead around the midway point of the fourth after a few tremendous hustle plays from Bismack Biyombo. That lead was short-lived however, as the Raptors scored nine straight points to pull within one. The teams traded baskets as the end of the game drew near. The Hornets nearly had a chance to ice the game when a Kyle Lowry elbow jumper clanged off the rim with 34 seconds to go, but they couldn’t secure the rebound. Lowry made amends on his next attempt and put the Raptors up one with 17 seconds to go.
Before the Hornets could inbound the ball, Serge Ibaka got called for grabbing PJ Washington’s jersey. Since the foul occurred before the inbound pass, it was deemed away from the play, which is a technical foul. Terry Rozier hit the free throw to tie the game. The Hornets retained possession with a chance to win it, but Devonte’ Graham’s floater was just a bit short.
Terry Rozier dominated the overtime period. Devonte’ Graham turned the ball over on the Hornets first possession of overtime, but Rozier tracked down the breaking McCaw and stole the back before finding Graham for a 3-pointer. He scored all seven of the other Hornets points in overtime. The problem was the Hornets inability to get stops. Terence Davis hit back to back 3-pointers to flip a three point Hornets lead into a three point Raptors lead. Serge Ibaka put the Raptors up two with a dunk with exactly one minute to play. Rozier answered by taking Ibaka to the rack to re-tie the game.
87% free throw shooter Kyle Lowry missed a pair of free throws that would’ve given the Raptors the lead. But the Hornets couldn’t capitalize, as Rozier’s 3-point attempt when begging. The Raptors were able to run out off the miss, and the Hornets fouled Ibaka in a scramble. He hit both free throws to put the Raptors up two with five seconds left. Rozier got a decent look at a potential game winner, but it was just a bit wide.
The Hornets played wonderful offensive basketball from start to finish. The ball never stopped moving and every possession was full of extra passes. They finished with 30 assists on 38 made shots.
PJ Washington stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Malik Monk came off the bench to drop a team high seven dimes. Cody Zeller scored 14 off the bench. Dwayne Bacon played well within the team concept despite his relatively quiet stat line.
After going 0-for-2 on their brief home stand, the Hornets are off on a Western Conference road trip. That start in Utah on Friday.