Hornets Produce Another Strong Showing, Rockets Pull Away in Fourth

Bridges, Graham Both Double-Double, Houston Makes Clutch Shots in Closing Minutes
by Sam Perley

Postgame Coverage: Game Gallery | Bridges Highlights | Coach Borrego | Willy Hernangomez

Although it was as complete a performance as the Charlotte Hornets have had in a number of games, it took just a few miscues in the fourth quarter to seal a 125-110 road loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Toyota Center.

Miles Bridges notched his fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting and a career-high 15 rebounds (five offensive) in the loss. Bridges has now scored 15 points in a personal best five consecutive games and tallied the first 20/15 outing by a Hornet player since April 3, 2018 (Dwight Howard at Chicago).

It was a 103-103 game midway through the fourth quarter before the Rockets uncorked a 10-0 run over two minutes of play to take a double-digit lead. Charlotte managed to stay within striking distance down the stretch, but in the end, there was just too much James Harden to handle, who tallied 14 points and four assists for Houston in the final frame.

“I thought we were great tonight. We battled, we competed, we came out tonight with a great mindset on a back-to-back,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “We traveled, we’ve been all over the world [lately]. We got off to a great start, we competed for 48 minutes. I’m proud of the group. It was a great effort.”

Terry Rozier also had 20 points for the Hornets, who dropped their 15th straight road appearance in Houston. Malik Monk amassed 19 points off the bench and Devonte’ Graham racked up 16 points and a team-high 10 assists for his 14th double-double of the campaign. Cody Martin made his first career NBA start, chipping in 12 points and five rebounds, while Willy Hernangómez added another 10 points and eight rebounds.

Harden ended the night with game highs in scoring (40 points on 11-of-26 shooting; 14-of-15 from the line) and assists (11) in addition to grabbing nine rebounds. Danuel House Jr. (22 points), Eric Gordon (16 points; 0-of-12 from three), Ben McLemore (14 points), PJ Tucker (13 points) and Austin Rivers (11 points) rounded out Houston’s double-figure scorers. Both Russell Westbrook (left thumb sprain) and Clint Capela (right heel contusion) were out for the Rockets.

Charlotte won the rebounding battle, 53-41, and outscored Houston in both paint points (50-46) and second-chance points (22-14). Houston shot 20-of-60 from three-point range, which is now the most attempts by any NBA team from long distance in a single game so far this season (previous: 56 by Brooklyn at Boston on Nov. 27, 2019).

Borrego added, “We’ve emphasized [rebounding] and guys are just taking more pride on that end of the floor. Rebounding the ball, being more physical on the board has been an emphasis for us. We can’t rely on one guy to go get 20 boards a night. We have to do it collectively and we’ve done that. We won the board and the paint last night and we won the board and the paint again tonight. We just have to stick with that formula and hopefully shots will fall for us.”

The Hornets are off for the next three days before returning to action on Saturday, Feb. 8 to face the Dallas Mavericks starting at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center. Watch the game on Fox Sports Southeast or listen in on WFNZ 610 AM/102.5 FM or the Hornets app.


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