Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Sunday’s home game vs. New Orleans Pelicans

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Sunday’s 112-110 Hornets’ home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans that dropped Charlotte to 33-35 overall:

… Statistical oddities abounded in the Hornets’ loss that defied the many trends of the season. Charlotte lost after leading entering the fourth quarter for only the second time this season and also lost despite having one of the best “clutch time” records in the league and also leading by 14 points in the first half and with Terry Rozier having the highest scoring night of his NBA career.

… Charlotte coach James Borrego gave New Orleans center Jaxson Hayes the credit for the Hornets subpar fourth quarter in which a 96-89 lead was turned into a two-point deficit; Charlotte scored 14 points in the fourth quarter on five of 16 shooting with five turnovers. Hayes had seven points, four rebounds and three blocked shots in the quarter to finish with 18 points, eight rebounds and six blockeds shots for the game. “You got to give Hayes a ton of credit,” Borrego said. “That’s a shot blocker for you. He turned that entire fourth quarter – his presence, his blocked shots and he affected a lot of our stuff in the paint in the fourth quarter.”

… Rozier finished with 43 pointson 16 of 26 overall shooting and seven of 11 on 3-pointers. He had eight points in the fourth quarter even as the New Orleans defense was focused on him. “He’s been carrying us the whole season and he had it going,” Hornets coach Cody Zeller said of Rozier.

… A weird Hornets/Rozier statistic about his high-scoring games: Charlotte is only 1-3 in Rozier’s games of 40 or more points. The Hornets also are only 28-18 all-time in games in which a player scores 40 or more points.

… Charlotte entered the game 27-1 in games in which it led after three quarters. The loss on Sunday was the second with only a home loss to Atlanta on April 11 the other time the Hornets lost after holding the lead entering the final period. Charlotte also fell to 18-10 in games in “clutch time” – or in games where the teams are separated by five or less points in the final five minutes.

… New Orleans (31-37) won despite having talented Carolinas products Zion Williamson (Spartanburg Day and Duke) and Brandon Ingram (Kinston and Duke) out with injury; Williamson is out with a broken left ring finger and Ingram is out with a sprained left ankle.

… Hornets’ rookie LaMelo Ball got the better of his brother Lonzo Ball of New Orleans statistically as LaMelo had 22 points, four rebounds and five assists and Lonzo had 12 points, three rebounds and six assists.

… Charlotte enters the final week of the season with four games and almost certainly locked in to the May 18-21 play-in tournament. “Every game is like a playoff game,” Zeller said. “This is what you play for. These are the fun games.”


What’s next: The Hornets host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at 7 p.m.