After a couple of quick baskets for the Cavaliers, both teams settled into taking turns missing shots. After one, the Hornets scored only 22 points despite not turning the ball over a single time. It was enough to hold a lead though, as they led by two heading into the second quarter.
The Hornets struggled mightily on the defensive end throughout the second quarter. The Cavaliers got several dunks from their bigs while Collin Sexton snuck in for several easy layups in the half court. Miles Bridges and PJ Washington bouyed the Hornets offense as best they could, but the Hornets still struggled with their lack of firepower. The Cavs went on an 11-0 run in the later part of the quarter to build up a double digit lead for a short time. A Jarrett Allen dunk was a fitting end to the half and gave the Cavs a 55-48 lead at the break.
The third quarter started with an offensive flurry. The Hornets hit three quick 3-pointers to get back into the game while the Cavs scored more interior buckets to keep a light stiff arm on the Hornets. The Hornets eventually wiped that away towards the end of the period. PJ Washington hit a tough fadeaway on the Hornets last possession of the quarter to tie the game.
Devonte’ Graham took a charge from Collin Sexton during the first possession of the fourth quarter, which sent Sexton to the bench with five personal fouls. PJ Washington hit a three and converted a tough and-1 (minus the free throw) to kick start the Hornets offense. The Hornets then did what’s become all to normal lately and went four minutes without a basket while the Cavs scored seven straight points. Terry Rozier scored an and-1 (with the free throw) to break the seal, and that seemed to get the rest of the Hornets going. They scored 15 points in the next four-ish minutes to put themselves in the driver’s seat for the game’s final minutes. At the tail end of that, Miles Bridges scored seven straight points to put the Hornets up ten with about 90 seconds to go. They played the free throw game to cruise to a win.
The Hornets forward duo of Bridges and Washington along with Rozier led the way with 25 points each. Bridges chipped in 10 rebounds for a strong double double. It was a much needed win for the Hornets, who play a nationally televised matinee against the Celtics on Sunday.