Terry Rozier made his return to the lineup and made his presence felt immediately. He scored the Hornets’ first bucket of the game and hit a corner three a few possessions later. That was a significant portion of the Hornets offense for most of the first quarter as the home team again badly struggled to put the ball in the basket. They got one more three from Rozier to set the deficit to nine after the first quarter. But because the universe hates the Hornets, they couldn’t make it out of the quarter unscathed. Dennis Smith Jr. left the game a few minutes in with a sprained ankle and missed the rest of the contest.
The second quarter started with a few traded baskets before the teams started trading turnovers instead. This James Bouknight block helped the Hornets get some momentum.
And that’s especially true since we got one of those Kelly Oubre quarters where he hit three 3-pointers in a span of about two game minutes. The Hornets pulled as close late in the third quarter, but an Edmond Sumner three and a pair of Cam Thomas free throws set the Nets lead at eight points at the half.
Rozier started the second half with a nice floater just like he did to open the first. The Hornets came all the way back from their deficit and retook the lead on a strong drive from PJ Washington. The teams traded workmanlike baskets for much of a rather uneventful third quarter. James Bouknight got a nice steal from Kevin Durant and made a nice left handed pass on the fast break and JT Thor made a three to give the Hornets a modest lead, but the Nets answered each basket. Bouknight fouled Cam Thomas shooting a three in the final seconds of the third. He made two of the three free throws to set the margin at 70-69 in favor of the Hornets going into the fourth.
Rozier splashed a pair of triples to start the fourth quarter and break open a seven point lead a couple minutes into the fourth. Nick Richards bullied his way to an offensive rebound and and one after the ensuing timeout to put the Hornets up double figures. A PJ Washington three put the Hornets back up 12 points with 6:30 to play, and that would prove to be the high water mark. The Nets took a timeout to put Kevin Durant back into the game, and he immediately made an impact with a bucket and an assist on the first two possessions after his return. It was the start of 12 straight points for the Nets over a four minute stretch to even the game back up.
Washington was the only Hornet who could score in the stretch, as he has had all ten Hornet points over a roughly six minute stretch. He hit a three to restore the Hornets lead, but it was quickly wiped away by a Durant three on the other end. Durant put the game away with a trademark baseline jumper on the next possession.
It was a decent bounce back from the embarrassing performance against the Grizzlies the night before. I don’t know what the stats were because they seemingly stopped working sometime in the third quarter, but it seemed like Rozier had a lot of points and Washington did pretty well too.
The Hornets will try to get back in the win column against the Washington Wizards on Monday.