Rozier Catalyzes Hornets’ 19-PT Comeback Win In Atlanta

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Charlotte Scores 5 PTS in Final 1.1 Seconds to Stun Hawks and Start Road Trip 2-0

It feels like too many times this season, the Charlotte Hornets have battled back from a tough start, only to come a play or two away from what would have been a thrilling comeback victory. Such was not the case on Saturday night though, as a sensational second-half showing by Terry Rozier spearheaded a dramatic 122-118 come-from-behind road win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Rozier ended up finishing the night with a game-high 34 points – 28 in the second half – a season-high seven 3-pointers, three rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win. Mason Plumlee added a season-high 25 points and 11 rebounds and PJ Washington also joined in on the 20-point performances with 23 points, four 3-pointers, six rebounds and six assists.

Trailing by 19 early in the third quarter, Charlotte unrolled a 36-19 run to get within two, before the Hawks re-padded their lead with a 6-0 spurt to close the frame. The Hornets continued to stick with it in the fourth and finally pulled ahead on a Washington 3-pointer with 1:28 to go, but four answered points courtesy of Clint Capela pushed the Hawks back in front by one.

Left with only five seconds, Rozier’s last-ditch 3-point attempt was halfway to the basket when the whistle blew, signaling a shooting foul on defender Jalen Johnson, who had just knocked the Hornets’ guard to the ground. Rozier calmly sank all three free throws to put Charlotte up two and on the ensuing Atlanta possession, Trae Young failed to get the ball inbounds, leading to a five-second violation and eventually, another two exclamation-point freebies from Rozier. 

“Good fight, good resiliency. A bunch of guys made plays late in the fourth quarter,” said Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford afterwards. “To me, starting against Boston in the second half [on Monday], we fought back after being behind at half. We did the same thing in Houston and here, so hopefully it’s something we can build on.”

“I’m never just trying to draw fouls,” added Rozier. “I want to hoop, but the play was for Gordon to go past me and for me to drive to the basket. The big (Johnson) was playing back, I just tried to read it and he fouled me. A lot of fight from the beginning to the end. Obviously, we were down 19, but we play hard. We couldn’t even tell we were down 19. We were just playing hard and it worked out for us.”

Back from an eight-game absence because of left hamstring soreness, Gordon Hayward chipped in nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks. The timing of Hayward’s return was somewhat convenient for the Hornets, who were without LaMelo Ball after he was unfortunately forced to the sidelines with left ankle and right wrist soreness.

Charlotte shot 50.6% and in the second half, scored 73 points, drained 10 3-pointers and made 15-of-17 attempts from the line. Other productive areas for the team included scoring 21 points off 18 giveaways by the Hawks – who are one of the NBA’s least turnover-prone teams– and conceding only six second-chance points and nine fast-break points.

Dejounte Murray (26), De’Andre Hunter (25) and Young (25) all had 25-point games for the Hawks, who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end with a fourth defeat in the last five regular season head-to-head home meetings with the Hornets. Young also shot 0-of-4 from 3-point range, dished out a game-high 12 assists and had six turnovers.

The Hornets will now venture back out west for a back-to-back opener against the Utah Jazz on Monday, Jan. 23 beginning at 9 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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