NBA: Hornets lose LaMelo Ball, still top Rockets
Terry Rozier scored a team-high 26 points and the Charlotte Hornets overcame the loss of LaMelo Ball while recording a 122-117 road win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Rozier paced seven Hornets in double figures to help Charlotte snap a five-game skid. P.J. Washington paired 16 points with eight rebounds, Mason Plumlee added 17 points and nine boards and rookie Mark Williams had 17 points, six rebounds and five blocks in 19 minutes off the bench.
Ball scored 13 points before departing with a left ankle sprain early in the third quarter.
Charlotte responded to a Kenyon Martin Jr. 3-pointer that tied the game with 9:44 remaining with a 16-4 run that featured treys from Washington and Bryce McGowens plus four dunks, two of which were by Williams.
LaMelo Ball left the game vs. the Rockets with an apparent ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/p23argAq2j
— ESPN (@espn) January 19, 2023
Martin, Jalen Green and Eric Gordon drilled 3-pointers down the stretch to cut that 12-point deficit to 119-116, but McGowens sank two free throws with seven seconds left to seal the victory and send the Rockets to their 12th consecutive defeat and 10th in a row at home.
Green matched his career high with 41 points and added seven assists, while Alperen Sengun recorded a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds and had six assists.
With Ball sidelined, Rozier asserted himself offensively in the third quarter with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. The Hornets weren’t particularly efficient in the period, shooting 1 of 7 from behind the arc, but with Houston shooting 37.5 percent in the third while committing seven turnovers that Charlotte converted into 12 points, the Hornets had ample opportunity to thrive offensively.
Still, despite the adversity, the Rockets entered the fourth with an 84-83 lead after scoring the final six points of the third on a Green layup, a Josh Christopher pull-up jumper and a Tari Eason tip-in.
Houston carried a 60-53 lead into halftime with Green tallying 23 points and Sengun racking up 12.
Ball, who had 11 points in the first quarter, shot 0-for-9 in the second quarter while adding only two points.
Charlotte finished with 26 fastbreak points, which were critical to the team’s success. Houston had only six fastbreak points.