Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Sunday night’s home game vs. San Antonio Spurs

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Sunday’s 122-110 Hornets’ home loss to the San Antonio Spurs that dropped Charlotte to 13-15 overall:

… A fast start in which Charlotte led 33-17 after the first quarter ended in a disappointing night that has the Hornets eager for two days off. Already with starting forward P.J. Washington and reserves Caleb Martin and Cody Martin due to health and safety protocols, the Hornets found out Gordon Hayward (lower back discomfort) would missed the game and, finally, 48 seconds into the second half, starting guard Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella femoral discomfort) was sidelined. “Proud of their effort,” Hornets coach James Borrego said of his team. “They battled – they gave me and their teammates everything they had tonight. They were competitive. They left it all out there – we had guys playing 40 minutes that aren’t accustomed to it. We just kept battling. I’m really proud of their effort.”

… Terry Rozier continued his hot streak with a career-best third straight game with 30 or more points; Rozier scored 16 in the first quarter and finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Rozier is the first Hornets players with three straight games of 30 or more points since Kemba Walker had five straight such games from Feb. 2 to 11 in the 2018-19 season. “Sometimes when you’re in the zone the hoop feels like it’s an ocean,” Rozier said. “My teammates and coaches did a great job finding me when they saw that I got hot pretty fast.”

… Jalen McDaniels return to action – he was promoted from the G League team in Orlando, Fla., on Friday when Washington and the Martins were declared out – lasted 26 minutes with six points. “I thought Jalen helped us tonight,” Borrego said. “And I think it’s the consistent communication between the G League and our program that allows something like that to happen tonight where a guy can come in right out of the G League and really give us productive minutes.”

… Malik Monk added 23 points, LaMelo Ball 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Cody Zeller 10 points and 11 rebounds and Bismack Biyombo 11 points.

… After taking the 33-17 first quarter, Charlotte yielded a season-high 47 points as San Antonio stormed ahead 64-59 at halftime. The previous opponent high was 41 points (also in the second quarter) by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 121-114 season-opening loss on Dec. 23.

… Sunday’s starting lineup of LaMelo Ball, Devonte’ Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and Cody Zeller was the eighth starting lineup this season for the Hornets.

… Charlotte now gets its longest break for the remainder of the first half of the season that ends March 3. ”

… Borrego is now 2-3 as a head coach against Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, the coach and organization for whom he worked for 10 seasons (2003-10 and 2015-18) with two NBA titles before he became Charlotte’s head coach. “It is always special seeing these guys,” Borrego said. “They mean so much to me, my career, and to my family. They are family so it is like getting back together with your family every time I see them, so it is fun to compete against them. They are the reason I am here today, so it is always special.”

What’s next: Charlotte hosts Chicago on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the third game of a five-game homestand.