The basket was the size of a manhole cover for Terry Rozier, burying seven 3-pointers en route to 27 points while Mason Plumlee stuffed the box score as the Charlotte Hornets beat the Houston Rockets, 123-99. The 24-point win is their largest margin of victory this season.
The Hornets opened the game with a LaMelo Ball-Mason Plumlee pick-and-roll that saw Plumlee hit Gordon Hayward for a kick-out three to get the scoring started. Jalen McDaniels buried a triple and a pair of beautiful floaters off the glass to give himself seven quick points in his first start of the season. A 7-0 Houston run put them up 20-17, but Ball tied it back up with a corner three. Terry Rozier put Alperen Şengün in a blender.
Scary Terry pulled out the moves on this bucket pic.twitter.com/rHTwPbVyMB— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 28, 2021
The Rockets played a lineup featuring young players that spend most of their time with G League affiliate Rio Grande Valley late in the first and the Hornets put together a solid end to the quarter, capped off by an electric buzzer-beating dunk by Kelly Oubre Jr.
Hayward began the second quarter with five points before taking a seat. Ball and Plumlee connected again, this time for a sky-scraping lob.
Ball went on a 5-0 solo run to give the Hornets a 48-40 lead with 6:10 left in the quarter. Charlotte would take advantage of Houston’s Daniel Theis-Christian Wood frontcourt defensively, extending the run to 17-4 and the lead to 58-44. Without Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. for consistent shot creation, the Rockets struggled to create offense in the first half and they couldn’t limit the Hornets’ hot shooting (52.1 percent FG, 40 percent 3P) on the other end. Charlotte led 64-50 at halftime. Plumlee and Rozier each had 13 first-half points while Oubre had 10.
The third quarter belonged to entirely to Rozier. He opened with a quick-trigger contested three and an icy step-back from the left elbow, leading Charlotte to a 10-4 run and a 74-54 lead. He put up 14 points, including four 3-pointers to give himself 27 by the time the third came to a close. Turnover issues from the Hornets and a brief heater from Eric Gordon helped Houston stay in it for a bit, but Charlotte led 94-70 after three.
The Hornets maintained solid play on both ends of the court as the fourth quarter began, and thus was the unofficial start of garbage time. Smith buried a three from the top of the key and McDaniels finished a smooth Euro-step before “we want Bouknight!” chants broke out at The Hive. The rookie entered and promptly fired a jumper over Daniel Theis, and Charlotte coasted to victory from there on out.
Rozier led all scorers with 27 points on 10-17 from the field and 7-12 from downtown, adding four rebounds and five assists. Oubre put up 18 points and three rebounds. Plumlee turned in one of his best games of the year with 15 points (7-7 FG), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks. Ball posted a steady 16 points, five rebounds, seven assists and two steals and McDaniels had 16 points, three rebounds and three assists. The Hornets shot 47-88 (52.9 percent) from the field and 18-41 (43.9 percent) from long-range as a team.
Tonight’s takeaways; PLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE!!!; kinda quiet, but really solid 16-5-7-2 from Melo; McD took full advantage of the start, nice to see; biggest win of the season against one of the NBA’s worst teams, has to feel good in the locker room to finally beat up an opponent that they should beat up; can Ish shoot threes now???; the “we want Bouknight” chant was genuinely hilarious, the fans at The Hive are awesome.