Terry Rozier scored 35 and came one assist shy of his second straight triple double as the Charlotte Hornets nearly erased a 34-point second half deficit in a close loss to the Memphis Grizzles, 125-118.
If you haven’t watched the game yet, I highly recommend skipping the first half. The Hornets shot 4-of-26 from the field and 0-of-11 from three in the first quarter as they dug themselves into a 20+ point by quarter’s end. The offense woke up a little in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies scored 38 points of their own and took a 31 point lead into the half.
The second half got off to a funky start. The Hornets turned it over on their first possession and the Grizzlies responded with a layup inside, making it look like the game would continue on like the first half. After that, there was a stretch with whistles on seemingly every possession and a stoppage after some balls were tossed back and forth. From that point through the end of the game, the Hornets went on an absolute tear. Terry Rozier took over the game and scored 12 points in a short stretch early in the quarter. A huge dunk by Miles Bridges cut the deficit under 20 around the 4:30 mark and really made it feel like a game again. They lost some of that in the final minutes of the quarter and trailed by 24 after three.
The Hornets went with a huge lineup to start the fourth, inserting JT Thor at the three with Mason Plumlee and Montrezl Harrell on the floor as well. It was very effective with a quick 8-0 run. Harrell and Plumlee did some work inside and LaMelo Ball hit three 3-pointers in just over three minutes. Rozier checked in for James Bouknight after a brief rest to start the fourth and immediately joined Melo in the 3-point barrage. Harrell bullied his way to the free throw line for four straight for the Hornets, but the Grizzlies answered with four straight of their own to go up 112-98 with 3:50 seemingly putting the game out of reach.
The Hornets wouldn’t make it easy though. They took a timeout to regather themselves and then erupted for a late push. Ball scored seven straight all on his own and forced the Grizzlies to take a timeout. Rozier hit a three then Plumlee found Thor on a baseline cut to pull the Hornets within four. They went back and forth with that margin for a couple of possessions, but the Hornets couldn’t cut the deficit any further as time ran out.
Ball ended up with 16 fourth quarter points while Harrell chipped in 14. Rozier finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, just shy of his second triple double in as many days. Ball finished with 25 points total and Harrell just missed out on his first double double as a Hornets with 20 points and nine rebounds.
For as bad as the first half was, the second half was just as electric. The Hornets made a valiant comeback attempt, and the game as a whole was reminiscent of the early season comeback Hornets. They also may have found something with Melo and Terry sharing the floor with a bunch of bigs. We’ll see if they try it again.
The Hornets will have a couple days off before visiting the Timberwolves on Tuesday.