Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Terry Rozier scored 24, and both hit clutch free throws down the stretch as the Charlotte Hornets snapped their three game losing streak with a win over the San Antonio Spurs, 100-97.
The Hornets played beautiful offensive basketball in the game’s opening quarter. They pinged the ball all over the floor and created a lot of good looks when they weren’t getting blocked. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to the most efficient offense as the Hornets missed a few too many makeable shots. Still, they defended well and held the Spurs to just 21 first quarter points and took a ten point break into the second quarter.
If you remember the first time these two teams played, you’d remember that the Spurs dominated the second quarter to build an insurmountable lead. This game looked like it was set to head in the same direction when the Spurs started the second quarter on an 11-2 run to pull within one. A James Borrego timeout stemmed the tide and got the Hornets back on track. They went on a little run of their own before playing the final several minutes of the half with a comfortable lead of around ten. PJ Washington finished the half with bang, powering through three Spurs for a psedo-dunk to put the Hornets up ten before swatting away Keldon Johnson’s last second layup attempt.
The Spurs started the third quarter on a run much the way they did to start the second, but again the Hornets were able to quickly put a stop to it with some savvy interior plays to get to the free throw line from Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier. They leaned on their defense to maintain their lead, because their offense wasn’t cutting it. The ball movement of the first half wasn’t there, and they struggled to generate any easy looks; it took eight minutes and 20 seconds for the Hornets to register to made field goals in the quarter. Some strong minutes from Gordon Hayward helped the Hornets maintain a five point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
As per usual, the Spurs started the fourth and final quarter on a run to retake the lead for the first time since the first quarter. The teams traded blows for the next few minutes, literally and figuratively—play was stopped after a player was hit in the face three times within the span of just a few minutes. DeMar DeRozan carried the Spurs all the way through the quarter with circus shots and difficult mid range fall aways. Terry Rozier did what Terry Rozier does in crunch time and splashed a couple of late 3-pointers, including an incredible step back to put the Hornets up three with 86 seconds to play. Alternating free throws set up a game tying 3-point attempt for Patty Mills, but his attempt drew front iron. Terry Rozier snagged the rebound and ran the clock out, and Miles Bridges added the exclamation point.
It did not count but this is how you wrap up a win in style!— FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) March 23, 2021
Huge road win for the @hornets!
Let's break it all down on Hornets LIVE! Up next on only on @HornetsOnFSSE! #AllFly pic.twitter.com/QFM22LPlZc
PJ Washington joined Rozier and Hayward in the box score superlatives with 10 points and a career high 13 rebounds, several of which were heavily contested. He chipped in five assists to boot.
The Hornets finished the night with 27 assists on 34 made baskets even though their shots weren’t falling as much as you’d expect. They made up for it on the defensive end and on the glass while holding the Spurs under 100 points.
The Hornets will wrap up their road trip against a Houston Rockets team coming off their first win in 21 tries.