The Charlotte Hornets withstood a late run by the Toronto Raptors to pull out a 119-116 win on Friday night at Spectrum Center.
The Hornets needed a coach’s challenge to go their way in the waning moments, as Charlotte retained possession with 1:21 to play following the overturning of an offensive foul against them.
After Scottie Barnes made a layup at the other end, Terry Rozier reinstated the Hornets’ three-point lead with a long two-pointer with 22 seconds to play.
Clifford went to the challenge well again as Rozier fouled Barnes in the act of shooting a potential game-tying three, but came up empty. Fortune was on the Hornets’ side, however, as Barnes missed the first free-throw, and the Hornets maintained a slim one-point lead.
Rozier made two clutch free throws on the ensuing possession, and Barnes missed on the final possession to seal the victory for Charlotte.
Gordon Hayward led 4 players who had 20+ with 25 points, Miles Bridges added 22 points, and Rozier had a double-double with 21 points and a career-high 13 assists.
The Hornets shot the ball well out of the gate, with a 61% clip through the first half, & a 59% mark through three quarters, but as the offense went cold for Charlotte, Toronto then found its swagger. The Raptors surged on a 26-6 run to go from down by as many as 20, to up four midway through the fourth quarter.
Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford was proven a prophet, as during pregame, he lamented his team’s defensive consistency.
.@hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford on the NBA being a more offensive league now: “It is, but [still] the teams that don’t play defense don’t win.”
Reiterates with Mark Williams back tonight he believes they have enough to win even with LaMelo out.
— Will Palaszczuk (@WilliePStyle) December 8, 2023
The Hornets (7-13) enter a critical stretch with just four home games remaining in the month of December, which they will play within their next seven games. One of those includes the next contest for Charlotte, at home Monday against the Miami Heat. Coverage begins at 6 PM for a 7 PM tip time at Spectrum Center on Sports Radio 92.7 WFNZ.
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