Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Tuesday’s road game at New York Knicks

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Tuesday’s 109-97 Hornets’ road loss to the New York Knicks that dropped Charlotte to 28-29 overall:

… The Hornets got off to a strong start, leading after each of the first two quarters before their offense ran dry in the second half. P.J. Washington had 21 of his team-high 26 points in the first half and Terry Rozier had 18 of his 21 points in the first half. “They were the more aggressive team in the second half and that was the difference,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said.

… The Hornets played without LaMelo Ball (broken right wrist), Malik Monk (right ankle), Gordon Hayward (right foot) and Nate Darling (right ankle) but got Devonte’ Graham (left quad contusion) back; Graham started and scored nine points on three 3-pointers in 29 minutes.

… The Knicks (32-27) are now three games ahead of the Hornets and in fifth place of the Eastern Conference. New York got offensive scoring balance from former Duke standout R.J. Barrett (24 points), Derrick Rose (17), Immanuel Quickley (17), Julius Randle (16) and former Kinston High and North Carolina standout Reggie Bullock (15).

… Rookie Vernon Carey, Jr., had his second straight short start as he was replaced after only three minutes with no statistics and didn’t return. “We played small,” Borrego said. “I thought we had good rhythm with P.J. at the 5.”

… Charlotte had a season-low of eight free throw attempts. “The goal is to get to the rim,” Borrego said. “We’ve obviously got to get more free throws than eight.”

… The starting lineup of Graham and Rozier at guards, Jalen McDaniels and Miles Bridges at forwards and Carey at center with the 18th starting lineup of the season. It’s the most in a season for Charlotte since the 2015-16 season but 10 behind the franchise record of 28 starting lineups used in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

… Borrego opened his pregame media availability with a statement on Tuesday afternoon’s Derek Chauvin verdict in Minneapolis: “It’s something that’s at the forefront of our organization’s minds. It was an appropriate verdict. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. Our league has done a great job helping to bring change and continuing to seek change. Today was hopefully a day of healing. But also to push us to want more and be more.”

What’s next: The Hornets visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday at 9 p.m.