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The Hornets watched another opportunity to secure the eighth seed slip away on Saturday as they fell in overtime to the Knicks, 118-109.
The Knicks flew out to a fast start thanks to hot shooting from the pair of Reggie Bullock and Julius Randle from the 3-point line. New York led by as many as 18 points in the opening half and looked well on their way to a victory.
The second half was an entirely different tale as the Hornets duo of Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham led a comeback that saw the visitors take a lead in the fourth quarter. From there, the two sides played a back-and-forth game that saw each have chances late to win the game.
After a Terry Rozier layup tied the game in the final minute, Graham could have won the game on the final possession but his open 3-pointer missed long and the two sides headed to overtime.
In the extra session, New York dominated, outscoring the Hornets 14-5 to win comfortably.
Bridges had a team-high 30 points while Graham added 25. Jalen McDaniels had 15, Rozier had 13 and Cody Zeller had 10.
The Good: The second half
Blame it on the early start. Blame it on reintegrating a key player to the rotation paired with a new starting lineup. What it was, that first half was not pretty. New York knocked down 3-pointers seemingly at will, the Hornets missed layups at will and it looked like another frustrating loss was in store. But the second half saw a far more energized and focused Hornets team that not only cut the lead down but led to the Hornets having control of the game in the early stages of the fourth quarter. It looked like the Hornets got some of their swagger back in that stretch, which is as important as anything that happened in the contest.
The Hornets were lucky they have a plethora of talented guards on Saturday because half of them struggled. Malik Monk continues to search for his rhythm that has never really come back since returning from his ankle injury. He finished 2-of-8 from the field and even though he had the bucket that gave the Hornets their first lead in the fourth, it was the lone bright spot on the day. As for LaMelo Ball...
LaMelo Ball: A really rough day
Perhaps nobody struggled more for the Hornets on Saturday than LaMelo Ball. He finished the day shooting 4-of-15 from the field, 0-of-4 from the 3-point line and had just eight points. He only added four assists and three rebounds, too. He did not play much in the second half and at all in the fourth quarter, finishing with just 21 minutes played. His plus-minus of minus-21, worst on the team, tells the story of his day.