Clifford’s Historic Win Ends Hornets’ Slide In Houston

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Charlotte Cashes in on 20 Rockets Turnovers to Overcome Another Untimely Ball Injury

Starting off their second four-game road trip of the month, the Charlotte Hornets put an end to a troublesome five-game losing streak in historic fashion by knocking off the Houston Rockets, 122-117, on Wednesday night.

Terry Rozier led a total of seven Charlotte players in double figures with a team-high 26 points, six assists and two steals in the win, which just so happened to be Head Coach Steve Clifford’s record-breaking 208th with the franchise. Mark Williams also produced a hearty statline, finishing with a career-high-tying 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and a career-high five blocks, marking the first five-block game by a Hornets’ rookie since Bismack Biyombo in April of 2012.

Coming off scoring 36 first-quarter points, Charlotte’s offense stalled in the second, leading to an ice-cold 0-of-10 clip from 3-point range and a 60-53 halftime lead for Houston. Twelve points off seven third-quarter Houston turnovers helped the Hornets enter the fourth trailing by one, then they used a 22-7 run midway through the final frame to break the game open. Down 11 with 1:28 to go, Houston made a late push, but never got closer than three and ran out of time.

In addition to Rozier and Williams, Mason Plumlee (17), PJ Washington (16), LaMelo Ball (13), Jalen McDaniels (12) and Bryce McGowens (10) all crossed the 10-point barrier, as well. The only real downer on the night was losing Ball to yet another left ankle sprain, after Washington inadvertently came down on the point guard’s foot early in the third quarter.

“I’ve coached a lot of games here,” said Clifford with a laugh when asked about the milestone victory to pass Allan Bristow. “I think that’s really how that works. What I’m hoping for is that we can build on the fourth quarter. We started this game well. The second quarter, we had a bump in the road there, but you could tell at halftime, just the way they were talking to each other that we were going to come out and fight hard. We had a really positive attitude even when Melo went down. It was good win for us.”

Added Williams: “It feels great, especially to get on the winning side of a game. We’ve been really close, real competitive, so to just get a win feels great. [Tonight] showed what I’m capable of. I was able to do a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. Obviously, I was scoring really well and I thought I did a great job of protecting the rim.”

Charlotte scored a season-high 78 points in the paint on 73.6% shooting and notched 29 points off 20 Houston turnovers, with 18 of those points coming in the second half. Led by McDaniels’ career-high-tying five swipes, the Hornets also had their third-most steals in a game this season (14) and thanks to Williams, tied their third-highest single-game block total (10).

Jalen Green had a career-high-tying 41 points – 13 in the fourth quarter – on 16-of-24 shooting for the Rockets, who now own the longest losing streak in the NBA this season at 12 games. Turkish big man Alperen Şengün added 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting and a game-high 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the campaign.

The Hornets will now head back east to face the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Jan. 21 beginning at 7:30 PM ET. Follow all the action on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ FM 92.7.

Post Game Interview

Coach Steve Clifford

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