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Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Saturday night’s home game vs. Golden State Warriors

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Saturday’s 102-100 Hornets’ home win over the Golden State Warriors that improved Charlotte to 14-15 overall:

… One of the stranger games in memory started out that way when former Charlotte Christian and Davidson star Stephen Curry was a late scratch from Golden State’s starting lineup because of an illness. Golden State officials said Curry’s departure was not COVID-19 related.

… Charlotte pulled off the win with a series of unusual events in the final 13.3 seconds with Golden State in possession up 100-98. The Hornets’ P.J. Washington and LaMelo Ball tied up Brad Wanamaker with 9.3 seconds left, then when Gordon Hayward gained possession of Ball’s tip and officials granted Charlotte coach James Borrego a timeout, it enraged Golden State’s Draymond Green so much that he was whistled for two technical fouls and ejection. Terry Rozier hit both technical free throws to tie the score at 100, then hit a game-winning off-balance 20-footer in front of the Golden State bench at the buzzer to complete a comeback victory. “It’s not how we drew it up,” Borrego said. “I’ve never seen a game like that end that way in that type of fashion. I’m not sure we’ll ever see that again. I give credit to our guys. Giive credit to Terry Rozier. He just willed us to another victory. He was fantastic, but everybody pitched in. That’s not the game we envisioned today, but in this league, you got to find ways to win and we found one way to win.”

… Rozier’s shot capped a 36-point game and a 20-point fourth quarter. Rozier scored 15 of the Hornets’ last 20 points – or after Golden State had taken a game-high 91-81 lead with 4:48 to play. The rally from a 10-point deficit marked the fifth time this season Charlotte had pulled off a comeback from a double-digit deficit. “I just seen one go through, I seen two go through and then it felt like the ocean,” Rozier said of his closing hot streak. “My teammates and my coaches did a great job down the stretch. They got me the rock and we made it happen.”

… Charlotte played predictably sloppy after six days off since the NBA put on pause on full practice due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. “Well, the win is a positive,” said Borrego, whose team made a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 32 Golden State points. “Any win in the NBA is a positive. We had to find a way to win and we did. It wasn’t the prettiest game. But we’ve been off six days and we looked like we’d been off for six days. But we kept fighting, we kept grinding, we never dropped the sword, we never gave in and we found ourselves a victory tonight.”

… Curry missed a game against Charlotte for the fifth time in the last seven Warriors-Hornets meetings. Curry is 12-10 all-time against the Hornets, with Golden State 11-5 with Curry in the lineup and 1-5 without. “Obviously, they’re missing one of the best players of a generation,” Borrego said of Curry being out. “They’re certainly a different team without him.”

… Washington added 15 points, Gordon Hayward 13 points and seven rebounds, Miles Bridges 10 points and Ball seven points, three rebounds and seven assists. Charlotte hit 20 of 40 3-pointers as a team led by Rozier’s eight of 11 accuracy.

… At 14-15, Charlotte will seek a break-even or better record for only the 11th time in the franchise’s 31-year history in its next game.

What’s next: Charlotte begins a six-game West Coast road trip that closes the first half of the season on Monday at 9 p.m. at Utah. Charlotte is 85-182 all-time in West Coast road trips. Charlotte later visits Phoenix (Wednesday), Golden State (Friday), Sacramento (Feb. 28), Portland (March 1) and Minnesota (March 3).