Bismack Biyombo opened the scoring with a nifty little reverse layup. The Knicks went the other way and built an early lead as the Hornets looked a little disconnected on the defensive end, but the Hornets quickly rectified that with three straight baskets on the interior, including a nice dive by Biz after he directed some offense out of the post. The Knicks took the next run with a number of easy baskets on the interior. The Hornets tightened up on that end after that, which led to multiple run outs and transition opportunities. After all the back and forth runs, the Hornets led 30-27 at the end of the first.
Dennis Smith opened the second quarter with a massive dunk that was followed by a probably-lucky tip-in by Willy Hernangomez. Hernangomez also set a season high for most pivots before a made basket:
The Hornets ratcheted up the intensity on both ends of the floor. It led to a little bit of sloppiness on offense, but it did make for a very entertaining style of basketball. Terry Rozier got hot and hit his first four 3-point attempts of the game, including a pair on consecutive possessions to put the Hornets up eight with a little bit more than two minutes left in the second quarter. Cody Martin added a goaltended layup and Biyombo added a free throw to give the Hornets a ten point lead heading into halftime. The Knicks didn’t make a shot from the field in the final 4:48 of the half.
The Knicks started the second half with a 7-0 run, prompting James Borrego to call a timeout. PJ Washington broke the seal with back to back threes. Devonte’ Graham followed that with a slump-snapping pull-up three of his own. Then we got this from Miles Bridges:
It was all part of a 17-6 run that gave the Hornets a 15 point lead, which they were able to maintain for a few minutes. The Knicks got a little of that back in the quarter’s final minutes, and the Hornets took a 10 point lead into the fourth.
Bobby Portis scored ten straight points for the Knicks spanning the gap between the third and fourth quarters. The Knicks being the Knicks, he was iced out of the next several possessions as the Hornets reestablished themselves on the defensive end. The Hornets offense dried up after that, which allowed the Knicks to pull within a couple possessions. The Knicks later pulled within two after Allonzo Trier created space by pushing off PJ Washington before elbowing him on the way up for his shot attempt. Trier had a chance to tie the game a couple minutes later with an open three, but his attempt drew back iron. Terry Rozier flipped in this impossible layup to put the Hornets up two possessions with under 30 seconds remaining:
Rozier and Bridges iced the game with free throws.
Even though it’s just the Knicks, it’s nice to see the Hornets bounce back in such a positive fashion after a horrific loss to the Pacers the night before.
In other good news, Devonte’ Graham had a bounce-back of sorts after two no-shows coming out of the All Star break. He scored 21 points and dished out five assists, even if his shooting percentage wasn’t stellar.
PJ Washington, Bismack Biyombo, and Miles Bridges joined the guards in double digits with 12, 12, and 10 points respectively. Cody Martin finished one point and one rebound shy of a double double.