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Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Monday’s road game vs. San Antonio Spurs

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Monday’s 100-97 Hornets’ road win over the San Antonio Spurs that improved Charlotte to 21-21 overall:

… Was it ‘Winning one for LaMelo?’ Could be based on the team’s play after dealing with the frustration that rookie guard LaMelo Ball could be out for the season with a broken bone in his right wrist. Without Ball, the team played at a slower pace and relied on veterans Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier to come away with an impressive road victory over a perennial Western Conference power. “To me, it’s about resiliency,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “You reshape and reform yourself. That’s what we did tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

… Hayward scored 12 of his team-high 27 points in the third quarter Rozier had 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets held off the Spurs to snap a three-game losing streak and pick up their first win on what had been a murderous five-game West Coast road trip. “It wasn’t the prettiest win but we found a way,” Hayward said. “It’s been a tough trip for us, not just the losses but with LaMelo going down.”

… P.J. Washington added 10 points and 13 rebounds, Malik Monk 11 points and Bismack Biyombo 11 points and six rebounds. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and Derrick White 21 to lead the Spurs.

… Rozier’s effort was the eighth time this season he has scored in double figures in the fourth quarter this season. “Terry’s just been so poised and confident and his focus in the fourth quarter at the end of the game has been elite,” Borrego said.

… Rozier’s fourth quarter burst helped the team improve to 16-0 this season in games in which its leads after the third quarter and to 14-5 in games in which the point differential is plus or minus five with five minutes to play. The 16-0 record is best in the NBA and the 14-5 record is third-best. “I don’t think any of us would’ve known that stat if you hadn’t told us,” Hayward said to a reporter’s post game question. “I think it’s really impressive for such a young team.”

… Borrego won his challenge of a foul call on Miles Bridges in the third quarter to improve his record on challenges this season to 9-2.

… Borrego has spent 10 seasons as an assistant to San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich. That includes three seasons alongside Spurs current’ lead assistant Becky Hammon before Borrego was hired in Charlotte. Hammon earlier this year became first female to be an acting NBA head coach after Popovich was ejected in a game. “Well, she’s been an inspiration for so many people,” Borrego said. “My daughter looks up to her. I was honored to spend time with her.”

What’s next: Charlotte concludes the five-game, eight-day Western road trip at Houston on Wednesday at 8 p.m. before the Hornets return home to face the Miami Heat on Friday.