Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Wednesday’s road game vs. Houston Rockets

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Wednesday’s 122-97 Hornets’ road win over the Houston Rockets that improved Charlotte to 22-21 overall:

… After a competitive first half, Charlotte outscored Houston 64-42 in the second half for their second 25-point win of the season over the Rockets. “We just knew we had to tighten up our defense,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “The starters were great. They came out and set the tone for the second half.”

… Terry Rozier had 25 points, Devonte’ Graham 21 and Malik Monk 19 to lead Charlotte. P.J. Washington added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Cody Zeller had eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes in his first game after missing two games with a shoulder injury.

… With 27 assists, Charlotte has had 25 or more assists for 12 straight games.

… With its second straight West Coast road trip victory, Charlotte made history. The Hornets had previously had 15 West Coast road trips in which they started 0-3 just like they did on this road trip. Charlotte’s second straight win marks only the third time in those previous 15 trips where the Hornets won the last two games of the trip.

… Charlotte Rookie Nate Darling made his first NBA bucket, a 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the game. “To score in a NBA game is phenomenal,” Borrego said. “I loved the bench’s reaction. They wanted that so much for him.”

… The Hornets won in Houston for the first time since 2004, which also came in the first year Charlotte returned to the NBA. That 2004-05 season also was the last time the Hornets have swept the Rockets in a seasonal series.

… Charlotte and general manager Mitch Kupchak has been linked to a few trade rumors with the NBA midseason trade deadline approaching Thursday afternoon. When asked about the trade deadline, Borrego said: “He (Kupchak) updates me every day on what I need to know. I’m just focused right now on this team. If Mitch has something for me, he’ll bring it to me.”

What’s next: The upcoming schedule doesn’t get easier for Charlotte, even as they returned home late Wednesday night. The Hornets host defending Eastern Conference champion Miami (22-22) on Friday at 8 p.m. and second-place Western Conference team Phoenix (29-14) on Sunday at 1 p.m.