Hornets Finish First-Half Schedule with Big Win in Minnesota
Timberwolves Struggle to Contain Rozier Again, Charlotte Posts Largest Victory of the Season
A lengthy six-game road trip couldn’t have ended any better for the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, as they’ll head into the All-Star Break following a 135-102 road win over the host Minnesota Timberwolves.
Terry Rozier backed up a 41-point showing against the Timberwolves last month with another 31 points (6-of-12 from three), three rebounds, four assists and three steals in the victory. Eighteen of Rozier’s points came in the third quarter and he also matched a quarterly franchise record with five three-point field goals made in the window.
Ahead by six at the break, the Hornets exploded into the third on a 27-9 run to open up a 24-point advantage in just under seven minutes of play. Minnesota trimmed the deficit a touch heading into the fourth before Charlotte extinguished any hope of an improbable comeback with a game-sealing 20-4 stretch to open the frame.
“Third quarter, I thought it was all about our defense,” said Coach Borrego after the win. “We said let’s come out and allow 25-or-less points in that third quarter and we got to 20. I thought that was the key tonight, our defense. We did not get off to a great start, but from then on out, I thought we locked in defensively. That’s where we have to get to consistently in the second half [of the season].”
He added, “I’m really proud of our group to finish this way. How this team has grown together, gelled together and how they play together as a unit, I’m really proud of them and their effort and togetherness. From there, we have to get better. There’s a lot of room for improvement here and I believe over this break, the biggest thing is getting our rest and getting healthy. If we do that, we have the potential to have a very good second half of the season.”
Gordon Hayward finished with 23 points, five rebounds, nine assists and five steals in his return from a three-game absence. LaMelo Ball (19 points and five assists), Malik Monk (18), PJ Washington (16 and nine rebounds) and Miles Bridges (13) also had at least 10 points with Bridges grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Washington also exited the game in the fourth quarter (right ankle sprain) and did not return.
Ricky Rubio led Minnesota with a season-high-tying 20 points and nine assists in the loss. Karl-Anthony Towns notched his 13th double-double of the campaign with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while Anthony Edwards (19 points) and Jake Layman (14) were also in double figures for a Timberwolves squad that lost for the 13th time in 14 outings.
Charlotte’s 135 points and 33-point margin of victory were both season highs. The Hornets also shot 52% from the field, outrebounded Minnesota by nine (54-45), scored 27 points off turnovers and swiped 14 steals, one shy of tying the seasonal best.
The Hornets will now have seven full days off for the NBA All-Star Break before starting a three-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, March 11 beginning at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center. Catch all the action on Fox Sports Southeast, the Fox Sports GO app and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.