Kelly Oubre scored 28 while Terry Rozier scored 22, but the Charlotte Hornets couldn’t overcome more turnover problems as they lost their second straight to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-104.
Kelly Oubre got the Hornets and himself going with a pull-up jumper to open the scoring. He ended up going 5-for-5 with 12 points in the first quarter alone. However, he did turn the ball over three times as the Hornets continued with Sunday’s turnover problem from the fourth quarter. They were able to keep pace with the Cavs with some really hot shooting. They made the same amount of field goals as the Cavs despite 11 fewer attempts. After one, the Hornets trailed by three.
The teams exchanged baskets in a relatively ho-hum start to the second quarter, but the Cavs would eventually start to create some distance thanks to 24 points from Cedi Osman and Evan Mobley and seven more Hornets turnovers. The Cavs played good defense, to their credit, but the Hornets were plenty responsible for creating their own mistakes with reckless passes, offensive fouls, and drives into traffic. The Hornets outshot the Cavs pretty significantly, but the 12-1 turnover difference resulted in a 13 point Cavaliers lead at the half.
The Hornets turned the ball over three more times in the first three minutes, the last of which was very loose ball handling by Nick Richards. Caris LeVert stole the ball right out of his hands and scored to put the Cavs up 21. Mobley and Osman continued to give the Hornets fits even though the Hornets started taking care of the ball a bit better. Svi Mykhailiuk checked in for his first minutes late in the third, hit a three, and definitely cleanly blocked Mobley without fouling him. Dennis Smith capped the quarter with a huge dunk to pull the Hornets within a frisky 19 points, but Osman his his third three of the quarter at the other end at the buzzer.
The Cavs scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to make it a 26 point ballgame and effectively end any hopes for a Hornets comeback. The Hornets made one last push with a 13-2 run through the middle parts of the second quarter that was almost entirely carried by Kelly Oubre. That was the closest the Hornets got to threatening the game, and the deep benches were emptied with a few minutes left in the game. JT Thor played well in that garbage time though and matched his career with 11 points, so kudos to him.
The Hornets shot the ball well from the field, though they continued to struggle from deep. However, the turnovers did them in just like in the previous meeting between these two teams on Sunday.
The Hornets will have a couple of days off before hosting the 76ers on Friday.