LaMelo Ball put up another monster stat line with 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals while Terry Rozier knocked down eight 3-pointers as part of a season high 32-point performance to lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Washington Wizards, 109-103.
The Hornets started cold with several early shot attempts rattling in and out. Terry Rozier got the lid of the basket with three straight 3-pointers to stop the Hornets from falling behind and level the game. Neither team shot particularly well, but the pace of the game kept the score moving. After one, the Hornets trailed 27-26.
The Hornets got off to a strong start to the second quarter thanks in a part to a unique 4-point play in which Gordon Hayward hit a three and Terry Rozier made a technical free throw for Spencer Dinwiddie’s remarks made to the official while Hayward was knocking down said three. The Hornets offense slowed down after that while both teams continued to struggle putting the ball in the basket. LaMelo Ball struggled with his shot for most of the half, but he was all over the defensive glass and gave us this highlight:
The dunk gave Ball some rhythm. He ended up scoring 15 points in the second quarter with most of those coming in the final few minutes. He fueled a 14-3 Hornets run to close the half as the Hornets took a 59-50 lead into the break.
More hot shooting from Rozier propelled the Hornets out to a 17-point lead, but a hard-earned 6-0 run by the Wizards ate back into that margin. The Hornets refused to build on that lead for a while and missed six straight free throws that could have helped really build a comfortable working margin. The rest of the offense soon followed suit, as the Hornets scored just six points in the final 5:30 of the third. They did defend well enough to keep the Wizards from taking too much advantage of the cold spell and took an 83-73 lead into the fourth.
Terry Rozier once again got the Hornets offense going to start a quarter early in the fourth. He followed up this nasty step back with a 3-pointer a couple of possessions later.
The Wizards rallied with eight straight points in less than a minute to force a Hornets timeout. The Wizards pulled within four a few times. The Hornets answered each. Gordon Hayward calmly knocked down an open 3-pointer after the first, and LaMelo Ball scooted past Kyle Kuzma for an and-1 after the second.
The game reached peak uncertainty when Bradley Beal drained a three from deep in the corner to pull the Wizards within two. Miles Bridges threw a potential game sealing alley oop from Ball off the back rim. Montrezl Harrell grabbed the rebound, but Ball knocked the ball away to take possession back. Terry Rozier dribbled out the shot clock and hit a dagger three with 13 seconds to play.
Ball and Rozier carried the Hornets offense for much of the game. Hayward had a solid game but was mostly quiet. Otherwise, there weren’t any particularly noteworthy individual performances.
The Hornets defended very well, which has become a trend in recent weeks after a very poor start on that end early in the season.
The Hornets travel to Orlando to take on the Magic on Wednesday before returning home to take on the Timberwolves after Thanksgiving.