LaMelo Ball matched an Anfernee Simons 3-pointer to open the scoring for the Hornets. The game was short an official, which resulted in a quick, free flowing game without a lot of whistles. It took almost eight minutes before we got out first foul call, and the teams played an even game to that point. With Nick Richards out, Mark Williams got the call to spell Mason Plumlee. After a couple of quiet minutes, he scored the last six points of the fourth quarter capped off by a nice catch and finish. The back and forth quarter ended with the Hornets leading 34-30.
He got a layup after he forced a steal at the end of the clip above. It was part of a good open to the second quarter with the only fly in the ointment being their tendency to foul. The Blazers got into the bonus early in the second quarter and took advantage of that to the tune of 15 free throws, which they made all of. It was the only thing that buoyed an otherwise cold shooting quarter for the Blazers. The Hornets meanwhile played a pretty brand of offensive basketball. They played with good pace and moved the ball really well. They built their lead as large as 14 points, but a 10-2 run from the Blazers cut the lead to six heading into the half.
The Blazers hit a pair of threes coming out of the break to level the contest and took the lead a short time later. The Hornets struggled with shot making and turnovers, both of which led to easy offense for Portland. They were forced to take a timeout after the Blazers scored on a runout after a defensive rebound to take a nine point lead. At that point, the Hornets had made 4-of-20 shots. The Blazers had made 11-of-17. LaMelo Ball hit a pair of tough triples to close the quarter and pull the Hornets within six heading into the fourth.
Terry Rozier finally hit his first field goal of the game early in the fourth on his 13th field goal attempt. The Hornets found offense equally as hard to come by as they did in the third and watched the game slowly slip away from them. They ended up making just 7-of-25 shots from the field and Rozier’s early triple was the Hornets only made shot from deep. They couldn’t really cut closer than double digits, and they ended up falling by that margin.
Mark Williams looked good in his first run as a Hornet, especially in his first stretch of play. He’ll probably get another opportunity or two with Richards on the mend from a sprained ankle. The center rotation could get a lot murkier if he keeps playing like this.
Terry Rozier shot just 2-of-17 from the field and combined with Kelly Oubre and Gordon Hayward to shoot 11-of-46 on the evening. LaMelo Ball finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, but he got his shot blocked quite a bit and wasn’t terribly efficient. PJ Washington had arguably the best game of any Hornet with 22 points on 13 shots.
The Hornets will hop on a flight to San Francisco to wrap up their road trip against the Warriors on Tuesday night.