Miles Bridges had 28 points and 13 rebounds while Mason Plumlee came up one assist short of a triple double, but the Charlotte Hornets squandered a 13-point fourth quarter lead and lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime, 126-120.
It wouldn’t be a Hornets first quarter without a catastrophic run by the opponent. The Wolves responded to a 5-0 Hornets start with a 19-2 run that spanned just over four minutes of game time. The Hornets used the rest of the first quarter to climb out of that hole. Part of that run included some first quarter minutes for JT Thor, who made some impact defensively as the Hornets went big for most of the quarter. After one, the Hornets trailed by three.
Some back forth gave way to a lot of ugly basketball. Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket with turnovers being the problem for the Hornets and missed free throws being the bugaboo for the Wolves. Mason Plumlee was the leading assist man while LaMelo Ball cleaned up the defensive glass. LaMelo Ball hit a pair of threes to spur a Hornets run that seemed to build some momentum heading towards the half, but Hornets fouls on back to back to back possessions kind of squandered that momentum. Two of those were dubious—Karl-Anthony Towns was rewarded for kicking his leg out attempting a three and Patrick Beverly was given a free throw for flopping near Montrezl Harrell as Harrell tried to get back in bounds after a layup. It capped off a second quarter in which the Timberwolves shot 23 free throws. At the break, the Hornets led by six.
The Hornets jumped out to a double digit lead early in the second half and looked to take control of the game. Some back and forth throughout the third gave way to the Hornets extending their lead as large as 13 at a couple of different points late in the third and early in the fourth. They wouldn’t be able to sustain that. They hit a cold spell midway through the fourth and went over three minutes without a point. A Terry Rozier three unsealed the basket, but the Hornets offense was still visibly laboring to manufacture decent looks. The Wolves offensive rebounded their way back into the game, and the Karl-Anthony Towns knocked down two big 3-pointers to give the Wolves a late four point lead. Miles Bridges immediately answered with a three, but he couldn’t give the Hornets the lead at the line after a defensive stop. He hit one of two free throws to tie the game and force overtime.
The Wolves scored five straight to start overtime and the Hornets could never make up that margin. The Hornets looked gassed on both ends throughout the late fourth and overtime and made a number of mental mistakes on both ends that led to the collapse.
The Hornets have just one more game before the All Star break, and that can’t get hear soon enough. The Hornets look worn out. Their effort and attention to detail was very poor in key late situations, and that’s a sign of a team that needs a break. They’ll take on the Heat on Thursday and then get a much needed week off.