Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham got hot from long range as the visiting Charlotte Hornets turned an explosive 3rd quarter into a 122-97 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, March 24 (Thursday, March 25, Manila time).
Rozier scored 25 points while Graham tallied 21 as the Charlotte starting backcourt finished a combined 10-for-17 from beyond the arc.
Graham, starting his second consecutive game in place of injured rookie star LaMelo Ball, drilled 6-of-9 three-point attempts as the Hornets improved to 17-0 when leading entering the 4th quarter.
Charlotte finished 18-of-38 (47.4%) from three-point range.
Houston, which snapped a 20-game losing streak on Monday by beating the Toronto Raptors, pulled even at 55-55 on a Danuel House Jr triple with 38.8 seconds remaining in the first half.
However, Rozier answered with 3 free throws following a House foul to give Charlotte the lead entering the break, and the Hornets opened the second half in top offensive form to pull away.
After Charlotte pushed the lead to 65-55 with a quick 7-0 burst, Graham sank a pair of treys before Rozier converted two layups to build the advantage to 75-61 at the 7:29 mark.
The Rockets called timeout but couldn’t stem the tide as Rozier added a three-pointer immediately thereafter before a Bismack Biyombo dunk pushed the lead to 19 points.
Malik Monk hit a trey later in the period and Graham converted a four-point play with 1:16 left in the frame, extending the Charlotte lead to 93-68.
The Hornets shot 14-of-18 in the 3rd, including 6-of-10 from deep. The Rockets, meanwhile, missed 10-of-12 three-point attempts in the period and trailed by 23 entering the 4th after pulling even late in the 2nd.
On the night, Monk posted 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. PJ Washington recorded 12 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte, which improved to 2-0 with Ball unavailable.
The Rockets capped their seven-game homestand 1-6. John Wall paired 20 points with 7 assists while Christian Wood added 11 points and 10 boards but missed 10-of-14 field-goal attempts. – Rappler.com