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Hornets lose a heartbreaker to the Spurs, 104-103

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The Hornets cooled off after a brilliant first quarter and then lost in a very strange manner.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Rozier scored 20 points while PJ Washington added 19, with both doing most of their damage in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets lost a tough game to the San Antonio Spurs, 104-103.

Cody Zeller and Cody Martin got their turns as starters and helped kick off a near perfect quarter of basketball for the Hornets. Four of the five starters scored a bucket within the team’s first four possessions as the Hornets built their way to a 16-2 lead. The last nine points of the quarter were scored by players that were playing for the Swarm just a few weeks ago as the Hornets took a 36-19 lead into the second quarter. The majority of those 36 points were dunks and 3-pointers as the Spurs looked very apathetic tracking the Hornets off the ball.

The Spurs scored the first five points of second quarter, but the Hornets bench quickly responded. The Martin twins continued their dominance of the game with dunks and 3-pointers and charges and all the other things Martins do. The Spurs hit five 3-pointers in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the half to narrow the margin to 9 points. At the half, Cody Martin led the Hornets with 11 points. Caleb added eight points. Jalen McDaniels chipped in six points, eight rebounds, and three assists.

Much like the first meeting between these two teams, the Spurs came out in the second half a totally different team. They walled off the interior and forced the Hornets to shoot jumpers, which they missed. The Spurs did not miss, and started the second half on a 20-9 run that gave them their first lead of the game. A Terry Rozier 3-pointer out of a Hornets timeout stemmed the tide. The Spurs missed seven straight shots after that point as the Hornets went on a 9-2 to build a lead again. Then the Hornets went cold, resulting in a 77-76 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

After a couple Rudy Gay buckets to open the fourth, the Martins took over again. Cody finished a nice drive through traffic, Caleb hit a long jumper, Cody found Miles Bridges for a dunk off a nifty interior pass, then Cody took a charge all within the span of a minute-and-a-half. The Spurs went on a mini-run to take their largest lead of the game in as the end drew near. They did so with a bevy of contested mid-range jump shots that the Hornets would’ve been satisfied with them taking. PJ Washington caught fire for a spell, hitting three 3-pointers in quick succession. Terry Rozier took over down the stretch with a few strong drives, but the Hornets couldn’t get enough stops to pull out the win.

We were granted one of the more anti-climactic one-point endings you’ll ever see. After a Hornets stop, James Borrego let his team play out the final 18 seconds without a timeout. Terry Rozier drove and tried to force a tough pass to Cody Martin, who couldn’t corral it. The Hornets seemed unaware that they needed to foul, as the Spurs rather easily ran out the final four seconds of the game.

The Martin twins played their best collective game of their careers, combining for 25 points, the first time they both scored in double figures in an NBA game. Miles Bridges joined them in double figures with 15 points, most of them coming in the first quarter. Jalen McDaniels stuffed the stat sheet with six points, nine rebounds, and five assists, but he did commit five fouls and accidentally shoved Caleb Martin into a 3-point shooter that might as well have been his sixth foul.

Up next is a vist from the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.