The Charlotte Hornets overcame a scintillating first quarter from Klay Thompson along with an 18-point third-quarter deficit to tie the game in crunch time, but ultimately fell just short of the Golden State Warriors, losing 110-105.
LaMelo Ball led Charlotte (9-26) with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Terry Rozier totaled 19 points, three rebounds and four assists. Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington each notched 14 points and five rebounds, with Hayward dishing out three assists. Jalen McDaniels added 12 points and seven boards off the bench. Mark Williams had six points, two rebounds and two blocks and JT Thor scored seven points.
Thompson scored 29 points to go with five boards and four dimes to lead Golden State (17-18). Jordan Poole logged 24 points and six assists. Jonathan Kuminga recorded 14 points and six rebounds. Draymond Green posted nine points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
A triple from Rozier opened things up for the Hornets offense, and both teams started the game with a fast pace and little hesitancy to launch from deep. Hayward overshot a couple of threes and struggled to finish in the first; on the season, he’s shooting a nine-year low 32.8 percent from deep. It’s clear the shoulder fracture has affected his touch in his return, so hopefully that irons itself out. Thompson shot 4-6 from distance and scored 14 points in the first, leading the Warriors to a 37-26 lead after one.
The Hornets offense got off to a decent start in the first few minutes of the game, but they struggled mightily to shoot with efficiency for most of the half. When coupled with, at times, a porous defense, the Warriors easily built a double-digit lead and kept it around a dozen with Ball limited to 14 first-half minutes due to foul trouble. After a hot start, Golden State shot 0-11 from downtown, though Charlotte was unable to truly capitalize, going into the locker room trailing 65-52.
Golden State scored five straight as the third quarter got underway, but the Hornets fired back with a 9-2 run that made it an 11-point game, 72-61 despite Ball picking up his fourth foul with 10:31 remaining. The Warriors went on another run to stretch the lead to 15, 78-63, before the Hornets fought back within single digits for the first time since early in the second quarter. Rozier sank a few timely mid-range jumpers during the run — he did a solid job hunting second-level shots tonight while his three-ball wasn’t falling. After three, the Hornets trailed, 89-78.
They say basketball is a game of runs, right? The Hornets went on a 12-5 run to begin the fourth quarter, but this time the Warriors didn’t respond right away. Ball and Thor led the way, and Washington accidentally threw a lob pass into the rim from beyond the arc for a three that made it a one-point game before the Warriors stifled Charlotte with consecutive shot clock violations and five straight empty trips. First Ball, then Hayward tied the game with deep threes as the clock ticked under five minutes. Kuminga tallied a pair of buckets to put Golden State ahead by four, 105-101 with 1:22 left, and Green successfully deployed Hack-a-Plumlee on the next possession. Poole diced up the Hornets defense and dropped a dime to Kuminga to effectively ice the game with 21.8 to go, and in the end, the Warriors collected the victory, 110-105.
- The Hornets can use every bit of spacing they can get with Hayward and Rozier having rough seasons from beyond the arc, and that was readily apparent in the first half as Kelly Oubre Jr. missed his first game of the season with a left hand sprain.
- At a few points in the first half, the Warriors could’ve turned it into a blowout, but the Hornets wouldn’t allow it. Say what you will about how “good” the team is, but we’re guaranteed to see consistent effort for all 48 minutes despite the win-loss record.
- I debated tweeting “Is LaMelo Ball the best three-point shooter present in the Chase Center tonight?” after he made his first three in the opening minutes. He finished 2-11. I’ll table that one for the next Hornets-Warriors game (but Melo is seriously an elite volume shooter despite the cold night).