Miles Bridges scored 30 points his return from a covid-19-related absence while Devonte' Graham chipped in 25, but they didn't get enough support as the Charlotte Hornets dropped a heartbreaker to the New York Knicks, 118-109.
The Knicks built an early lead on the back of three quick Reggie Bullock 3-pointers. Miles Bridges made his return and made an immediate impact with a quick 3-pointer and 3-point play. The Hornets struggled all quarter long to stay attached to Knicks shooters and defend without fouling (with some help from an extremely questionable call on Bridges in the open court). The Hornets gave up 36 points in the frame and trailed by nine heading into the second quarter.
The Hornets made just one of their first ten field goal attempts in the second quarter despite the fact that most of those looks were layups and open 3-pointers. They fell behind by as many as 18 before Devonte’ Graham caught fire. He hit four straight 3-pointers to get the Hornets back within single digits. The tough shot making got the Hornets as close as six before Julius Randle hit a stepback three in the final seconds of the half. The Hornets made just seven of 23 shots within the restricted area, while the Knicks hit 12-of-19 3-pointers. Yet somehow, the Hornets only trailed by nine at the break.
The cold shooting from the Hornets starters continued to start the second half. They missed 10 of their first 11 shots in the half (four of which were blocked by Nerlens Noel) as the Knicks built their lead iiback up to 17. Miles Bridges also got a layup attempt blocked by Noel on the back end of that slump, but his attempt hit the backboard first, so at least the Hornets got two points out of it. He followed that with back to back 3-pointers and an alley-oop dunk. He scored 16 points in the quarter as the Hornets trimmed the deficit all the way down to three after a couple of ferocious dunks.
The game turned into a defensive slugfest in the fourth, just like it did in the last meeting between these two teams; they combined for just 33 points. The Hornets took a commanding four point lead about halfway through the quarter, but the Knicks responded with seven straight points to take a 104-101 lead with 4:34 to play. The wouldn't score another point the rest of the game, but the Hornets couldn't score the requisite four points to win the game in that time. Devonte' Graham got a good look to win the game in the final seconds, but his attempt badly overshot the rim.
The Knicks dominated the overtime period and quickly put the game out of reach. Bridges scored five points in overtime, and the rest of the Hornets scored zero. The Knicks scored seemingly every time down the court and turned in a comfortable win.
Devonte' Graham and Miles Bridges carried the Hornets all game long with a few timely contributions from Jalen McDaniels. Graham and Bridges combined for 55 points on 18/38 shooting (47.4%) and 10/24 from deep (41.7%). The rest of the Hornets roster scored 54 points on 21/64 shooting (32.8%) and 3/25 from deep (12.0%). That is not a typo.
It's not the end of the world though. The Pacers lost to the Lakers, meaning the Hornets, Wizards, and Pacers are all tied for the 8 seed. A win against the Wizards is all the Hornets need to stay eighth. That'll happen tomorrow at 1:00.