Lakers Spoil Hornets Late Comeback Efforts

Ball Posts Historic Triple-Double Performance, Charlotte Drops Heartbreaker in OT
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Gallery

With about five minutes left in regulation on Monday night, it looked like the Charlotte Hornets were absolutely dead in the water facing the hometown Los Angeles Lakers. But just as it had done time and time again, the squad fought, scratched and clawed its way back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit before eventually falling in overtime, 126-123.

Los Angeles led 110-99 with 5:10 remaining in the fourth before losing its composure a bit and leaving the door open for the visitors. Charlotte then uncorked a 16-5 run to send the game to another frame, but Carmelo Anthony put the Lakers ahead for good with a late go-ahead three-pointer, giving him seven for the night.

“We just have to stay with it. That’s the biggest thing right now,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego after the loss. “No one is feeling sorry for themselves. I thought we played a fine game tonight. We were right there, battled. We were up, we were down, we found a way to claw back to overtime. I thought our guys were fantastic. We keep moving forward. It’s a long season.”

LaMelo Ball was the star of the show for the visitors, finishing with 25 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double. He became just the second player in franchise history to record a 25-15-10 statline and youngest NBA player to accomplish this feat in the last 40 seasons. Terry Rozier also added a much-welcomed season-high 29 points.

“I thought [LaMelo] took a step forward tonight as a professional,” added Borrego. “I thought he got us in good stuff, especially down the stretch. I was really proud of him. I think in general, how he moved the ball, he shared, he made shots, made free throws. Defensively, I thought he was locked in. [Terry] looks much more comfortable. He looks like Terry out there now. He took some big shots. That was a really positive piece of the game tonight.”

It’s been a disappointing road trip for the Hornets, who have now dropped five straight and seven of nine after starting the season 3-0. A significant strength last year, the team still has work to do when it comes to closing games right now, as evidenced by Sunday night’s 22-0 fourth-quarter run by the Clippers. Progress was made in this area tonight, even it comes in bittersweet fashion.

Said Borrego, “I think our end-of-game execution [was better]. Nobody hung their head when we were down eight, ten points. It could have been twenty or thirty. We kept battling, we got back into the game. We built a lead [in the third quarter], they came back. There was some resiliency there. We could have given in. We closed out strong in regulation and had a shot at the end to win it.”

The Hornets will look to end their all-Western Conference journey on a high note come Wednesday night, when they travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies starting at 8 PM ET.

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter