The Hornets brought good energy out of the gate, even if the shots didn't fall right away. They kept the Knicks off the offensive glass for the most part, got a number of defensive deflections, and pushed the pace on offense. The lack of shooting kept the game even though, especially with the Knicks splashing some timely triples when the Hornets would get a modest lead. It was a low scoring quarter--the Knicks led 22-20 at the end of it--but Kai Jones did provide us with this highlight in the waning moments.
Julius Randle got going in the second quarter and the Knicks funneled the ball through him most every possession throughout the period. He finished the half with 19 points and briefly pushed the Knicks lead to double figures near the end of the first half. The Hornets offense was similarly stagnant without the effectiveness to go with it. The racked up just six assists on 19 made shots in the first half, but they made up for the lack of ball movement with aggressive attacks on the basket. A spurt chopped the Knicks lead in half in the final minute of the half, and it was spurred by five quick points from Bryce McGowens. At the break, the Hornets trailed 55-49.
The Knicks trio of lefties continued to dominate the Knicks’ touches coming out of the intermission. A 10-2 run through the middle of the quarter pulled the Hornets back within striking distance when it looked like the game was slipping away, but the Knicks built the lead back up and extended it to its largest spread of the game. The Knicks outscored the Hornets 18-5 after the Hornets pulled within six, and that gave the Knicks a 18 point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The lead quickly grew to 20 after an Isaiah Hartenstein dunk came so quickly that the cameras were barely focused on the action. He scored seven straight points to start the quarter and deflate any optimism for a Hornets comeback. The Hornets finally started playing aesthetically pleasing basketball, pushing the ball on the break and hitting their shots, but it was far too little too late. The deep benches were emptied with the Hornets down 18 with three minutes to play.
There wasn’t any particular quarter or stretch of play that did the Hornets in. They just gradually fell behind over the course of the game because of their inability to consistently make shots. The Hornets shot just 23.1% from three to increase their lead as the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
Rozier and Oubre headlined the offense with 24 and 22 points respectively, but the overall performance was very lacking. Most possessions were very dribble heavy and the shot quality was not good. The Hornets only assisted on 16 of their 37 made baskets and no one player had more than four.
The Hornets will get a day off to travel to Philadelphia to take on the now healthy 76ers.