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Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Friday night’s road game vs. Golden State Warriors

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Friday’s 130-121 Hornets’ road loss to the Golden State Warriors that dropped Charlotte to 15-17 overall:

… Without Cody Zeller (hip contusion), Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego went small with P.J. Washington at center for the first time this season along with guards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier and forwards Gordon Hayward and Caleb Martin. Golden State came out sizzling, by shooting 77.3 percent in the first quarter and finished with 72 points in the paint. “They were just making shots and scoring too much in the paint,” Washington said. “They had 70-something points in the paint. We can’t allow that. We want to hold teams to 38-40 points in there.”

… Despite the slow start, Charlotte led 43-39 with 6:08 left in the first half before a 27-8 burst to close the half gave Golden State a comfortable working margin. “They got off to a good start,” Borrego said. “We caught up with them in the second quarter then we sort of fell apart.”

… Malik Monk continued his hot shooting off the bench with a team-high 25 points. Rozier added 24 points and Ball 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. “I think he’s been aggressive offensively for us,” Borrego said of Monk. “That’s big for our bench to have that scoring punch.”

… Golden State’s Draymond Green has been vowing to make amends in the second meeting with Charlotte in six days after he took blame for his two technical fouls that helped Charlotte rally to win 102-100 last Saturday. And Green delivered; He had 11 points, 12 rebounds and a NBA season-high 19 assists for the 25th triple-double of his career. “I think he is always going to speak his mind,” Washington said of Green. “He plays the game the right way. He’s just aggressive offensively and defensively.”

… Charlottean Stephen Curry, a late scratch from last Saturday’s game due to an illness, had 29 points, four rebounds and nine assists as he improved his personal record to 12-5 against the team for which he watched growing up when his father Dell Curry played on early Hornets’ teams. Stephen Curry, a former Charlotte Christian and Davidson standout, is averaging 27.2 points per game against Charlotte – and Golden State is only 1-5 against Charlotte when Curry hasn’t played against the Hornets in his career.

… LaMelo Ball picked up the first technical foul of his career when he slapped at the floor after being whistled for a foul with 1:50 left in the first half.

… Charlotte guard Devonte’ Graham missed his fourth straight game with a left knee injury. With three more games left on the six-game road trip, it’s certainly a possibility Graham won’t play until the second half of the season begins on March 11.

What’s next: Charlotte continues the six-game West Coast road trip that closes the first half of the season on Sunday at 10 p.m. at Sacramento, whose associate head coach is Shelby’s Alvin Gentry. The trip continues at Portland (Monday) and Minnesota (Wednesday).