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Comeback falls short, Hornets lose 122-116 to Nets

The Hornets trailed by 20 points before mounting a big comeback attempt in the second half.

NEW YORK — Terry Rozier scored 29 points as the Charlotte Hornets were bested by the Brooklyn Nets on the road on Wednesday after almost pulling off a big comeback.

The Hornets trailed by as much as 20 points in the second half before mounting a huge rally in the third and fourth quarters with a sensational effort from Charlotte's starters. Charlotte outscored Brooklyn 61-49 in the second half but their efforts were too little too late as they fell 122-116. 

Games are never won in the first half but the Hornets proved early on how a game can be lost in the first two quarters. Charlotte led just once in the contest in the first quarter before Brooklyn ran away with the game in the second quarter.

The Nets were successful on over half of their shots in the first half, which greatly contributed to the team taking an 18-point lead into the locker room that the Hornets were unable to come back from.

In the first quarter, both teams seemed evenly matched as the score stayed tight despite the Nets holding a slight edge. Charlotte broke through to gain a 17-16 lead off a Jalen McDaniels dunk in the period. The Hornets only led one more time in the game, which came less than a minute later in the first period with a score of 19-18.

Other than those two moments, the Nets never trailed during the game. Shortly after the Hornets' last lead, the Nets went on a 9-0 run that eventually led to a 38-28 lead after just the first quarter.

Efficient scoring from Edmond Sumner and Kyrie Irving kept the Nets afloat in the second quarter. PJ Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. tried to keep the scoring up for the Hornets but the team was outmatched defensively and was down 73-55 at halftime.

Whatever head coach Steve Clifford told the team in the locker room must have worked as the Hornets buzzed back with a 32-point third quarter that left them behind by just nine points heading into the final period.

Charlotte kept the pressure on in the fourth quarter with big efforts from Oubre and Rozier, among others, and pulled within just one score in the closing minutes.

A McDaniels layup made the score 115-114 with just two minutes remaining as it looked like the Hornets might just pull off the comeback.

However, it just wasn't meant to be as Kevin Durant sank a 3-pointer, and Irving connected on free throws that put the game out of reach with under a minute remaining.

One last chance to pull the score within a score was thwarted as Mason Plumlee missed two crucial free throw attempts with around 30 seconds to go.

The Nets ultimately held on for the 122-116 win.

Irving led the game with 33 points on the night. Durant was close behind with 29 points and Charlotte native Seth Curry came off the bench to score 20 points for the Nets.

The Hornets were led by Rozier with 29 points. Oubre finished with 28 points as every Charlotte starter scored double digits. Mason Plumlee earned a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

If there's anything positive to take away for the Hornets in this one, it's that they shot reasonably well compared to the rest of their season. The team successfully made 53.4% of their shots from the field, including 41.7% of 3-pointers. The team is 29th in the NBA in 3-point percentage, making just 32.1% of those shots on the season.

Charlotte falls to 7-18 with the loss. Brooklyn improves to 14-12.

The Hornets' next game is on Friday at home against the New York Knicks (11-13).

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