Rozier’s Late 3-Pointer Ices Win in Washington
Charlotte’s Starting Backcourt Totals 60 PTS, Wizards Lose For 2nd Time at Home
Despite an uncustomary slow start to the season, the Charlotte Hornets knew it was only a matter of time before Terry Rozier – their leading scorer from last year – broke out with one of his signature performances. On Monday night in Washington, the clock finally struck Terry Time, leading to a season-high 32 points for the veteran guard in a 109-103 victory.
Down two midway through the second quarter, Charlotte used a 28-9 run across the middle two frames to open up a 17-point lead over the Wizards with 8:07 remaining in the third. Washington refused to go quietly, progressively inching back into things until a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope corner three put the squad within two with 52 seconds left in the fourth.
LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges failed to connect on an alley-oop at the other end, but Ball poked the rebound away from Montrezl Harrell leading to a full shot clock and an extra Charlotte possession. With time melting away, Rozier pulled up from just outside the left three-point break and buried a dagger over Caldwell-Pope to hand Washington its second home loss of the season.
“It feels great,” said Rozier. “I woke up this morning, had shootaround and I just knew what type of day it was going to be. Credit goes to my teammates and coaches for just sticking with me and believing in me. I’m never going to doubt myself. I don’t really pay attention to my percentages. I just play. That’s what it’s all about.”
Added Hornets Head Coach James Borrego, “In a lot of ways, [Terry] is the heartbeat of this team. Just his fire, his fight, his tenacity – just to see the ball go through the net tonight is huge for him. We believe in his shot. He has to believe in his shot. This is the start of a big-time run for Terry Rozier. This is the Terry we’ve become accustomed to.”
Rozier finished the night with a season-high 32 points on 8-of-11 from three, while his fellow backcourter Ball had 28 points (15 in the second quarter), 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Harrell led all Washington scorers with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting off the bench to go along with a game-high 18 rebounds, seven of which were offensive.
Charlotte connected on 15-of-31 three-point attempts (48%), with the Wizards shooting just 9-of-36 (25%), after hitting 8-of-42 at Spectrum Center last Wednesday night. Washington also lost despite outrebounding the Hornets by a lopsided 65-36 margin (+29). Often times though, it’s about which team can come up with those critical winning plays, which is exactly what the Hornets accomplished on that game-sealing possession.
“We’ve had a number of those to win games this year,” said Borrego. “It comes down to those winning plays. A 50-50 ball, a defensive rebound, an offensive rebound, a tip-out just to give us an extra possession – those are winning plays to me. Kelly Oubre Jr. had a couple, so did Cody Martin. Those are what you need especially on the road. You have to find one or two of those plays either on the defensive end or offensive end to put you over the top.”
The Hornets’ three-game road trip wraps up on Wednesday night in Orlando, where they’ll face the Magic starting at 7 PM EST.