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Rockets Surprisingly Trip Up Hornets in Overtime

The Charlotte Hornets fall to 13-9 on the season.

After a Friday night home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, many believed that the Charlotte Hornets would be 14-8 by Sunday morning. The Houston Rockets had other plans. 

Charlotte's slow start defensively led to Houston jumping out to a quick 22-10 lead just five minutes into the game. Houston continued to pour in shots throughout the remainder of the opening quarter including an Armoni Brooks three just before the buzzer to extend Houston's lead out to 43-30.

"The start could have been much better, mentally," Hornets head coach James Borrego said. "We were not locked in. We were not the aggressive team. They were the much more aggressive team. They've been sitting here for a couple of days, we needed to come out with a more aggressive mindset. Give them credit but we've got to be better on these back-to-backs, especially."

The Hornets battled back in the 2nd quarter and eventually took the lead late with a Terry Rozier three. However, that was quickly erased by Kevin Porter Jr. draining a three with 0.7 seconds left. Houston took a 73-71 lead into the locker room. 

Houston continued its big night from beyond the arc, hitting six threes in the third to push the lead out to 14. The Hornets allowed 23 made threes on the night which is a season-high. 

"I can't go through all 49 threes they shot but in general, I thought they just got to the rim, they kicked out. Our containment of the ball has to be better. They made 23 threes. They're one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA and they made threes tonight, so give them credit. Partly that's on us. Partly that's on them. We could have done much better defensively. Our transition defense, our rebounding. It wasn't just the threes that hurt us tonight. Wood had 33 tonight. We've got to be more physical on him."

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Down 15 early in the fourth, Charlotte had to string together a series of stops on the defensive end of the floor to give themselves a chance to come back. The defense came through as Houston missed some shots, allowing Charlotte to go on an 18-4 run to make it a one-point game, 124-123. With just 13 seconds remaining, Kevin Porter Jr went just 1/2 from the free-throw line which opened the door for the Hornets to go for the win or settle for a two and force overtime. LaMelo Ball jacked up a three clanking iron but P.J. Washington was there for the offensive board and dunked it to tie things up. 

Terry Rozier scored the opening bucket of the overtime period but that would be the only time the Hornets held the lead in OT. Houston pounded the ball inside and attacked the rim getting to the line for six shots. Fortunately for Charlotte, the Rockets went just 3/6 from the charity stripe but they just couldn't capitalize and failed to get a shot off before the final horn. 

The Rockets picked up just their third win of the season with the 146-143 win. The Hornets drop to 13-9 on the year and will head to Chicago for a Monday night matchup with the Bulls. 

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