Terry Rozier led five Hornets in double figures with 31 points as the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Miami Heat, 122-117.
The teams went back and forth in a well played and efficient first quarter. Gordon Hayward led the way for the Hornets while Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro did so for the Heat. Terry Rozier made a swooping layup and a transition three later in the quarter as the Hornets went on a small run to take a lead, but it was quickly canceled out. After one, the Hornets trailed 28-26.
The Hornets scored four interior baskets in their first four possessions of the second quarter. Three of those buckets came from the hands of PJ Washington. He and Hayward did the majority of the offensive damage for the Hornets. Defensively, the Hornets mixed in a few zone coverages that seemed to catch the Heat off guard and force some awkward offensive possessions. Jimmy Butler got going in the latter part of the quarter, scoring 9 points in the last two minutes, but Rozier gave the Hornets some momentum by banking in a three pointer from the logo at the halftime buzzer. At the half, the Hornets trailed 62-58.
The Heat opened the second half on a 10-1 run as LaMelo Ball continued to struggle. He missed three shots during the run, making him 1-for-8 for the game to that point. The Hornets answered with their own run, and three 3-pointers by PJ Washington helped put the Hornets on top. Terry Rozier joined in on the fun shortly after, and he ended the second consecutive quarter with a buzzer beater. After three, the Hornets led by five.
LaMelo Ball found some rhythm to star the fourth quarter. He hit a three and a layup for the Hornets first five points of the quarter. He hit another three a few possessions later, the sixth consecutive 3-point make for the Hornets. It all helped the Hornets build their lead into double figures. But the Heat aren’t a team to go away quietly. They ratcheted up the defensive intensity and made it difficult for the Hornets to get good looks inside. The Hornets were forced to settle for 3-pointers that wouldn’t drop. The Heat pulled within a possession, but big shot Mason Plumlee had an answer. After the Hornets controlled a jumpball in the center circle, Plumlee drove all the way past Bam Adebayo for a layup. Ball followed that with a three on the next possession to put the Hornets up eight. The Hornets got a couple of weight room buckets to put it away—Ball drove through all sort of contact from Victor Oladipo for a layup. On the next possession, PJ Washington ripped away a rebound from Tyler Herro to lay it in. Some garbage time set the final score.
Rozier continued his strong scoring performances with his 31 points. Gordon Hayward scored 20 points on only seven shots, of which he missed none. PJ Washington scored 27 and LaMelo Ball overcame a slow start to finish with 19 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
The Hornets will hit the road again to take on the Bucks on Tuesday.