CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Eric Gordon scored 24 points in his season debut and the New Orleans Hornets rallied from a 21-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 98-95 on Saturday night.
The Hornets trailed 54-33 at one point in the second quarter and were still down 57-40 at halftime, but stormed back by outscoring the Bobcats 33-16 in the third quarter for a 73-73 tie.
Ultimately they pulled away in the fourth quarter thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Ryan Anderson and one each from Gordon and Roger Mason in the final six minutes. Mason's three-pointer with 47.4 seconds gave New Orleans a 95-86 lead and the Hornets barely held on from there.
The Bobcats had two shots to tie in the final seconds, but Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions missed 3-pointers in the final nine seconds.
The victory moved the Hornets to 7-23 and was their second in the last three games after a recent 11-game losing streak.
The loss dropped the Bobcats to an identical 7-23 record and was their 18th straight loss.
Gordon had missed New Orleans' first 29 games because of a right knee injury. He wound up playing 24 minutes and was 5 of 13 from the field but 12 of 14 from the free-throw line.
Anderson finished with 19 points, Greivis Vasquez scored 16 and Mason scored 13.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led Charlotte with 22 points. Gerald Henderson scored 19, Kemba Walker 15, Ben Gordon 14 and Hakim Warrick 12.
NOTES: To make room for Gordon, the Hornets deactivated rookie forward Darius Miller. ... There is strong public sentiment in Charlotte to bring back the nickname Hornets after New Orleans becomes the Pelicans next season. However, Bobcats officials have not given any indication that it could actually happen. ... The Hornets and Bobcats had the second and third worst records in the NBA, respectively, heading into Saturday's games, ahead of only the Washington Wizards. ... The Bobcats' losing streak started on Nov. 26 in a 114-69 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise record is 23 straight losses, to close out last season. ... The Bobcats were without Byron Mullens for the third straight game because of a sprained left ankle, and coach Mike Dunlap said that Mullens' return was "a long way off." Mullens is still on crutches. ... Tyrus Thomas missed his 22nd straight game with a strained left calf. ... Anthony Davis scored 25, Vasquez had 20 points and 14 assists, and Anderson had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the Hornets' 104-97 loss to Toronto on Friday night. ... The Bobcats were coming off a dismal performance in a 97-81 loss at Brooklyn on Friday night, as they trailed by 29 at one point. Warrick was one of only three Bobcats in double figures with 13 points. ... The Bobcats will play at the Chicago Bulls on Monday afternoon and will play five of their next seven games on the road. ... New Orleans will play the Atlanta Hawks at home on Tuesday night.