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The Hornets pulled off a second half rally in Eric Gordon's return to the court. Gordon had a game-high 24 points and chipped in seven assists to lead New Orleans to a 98-95 victory.
With the Charlotte Bobcats cruising in the second quarter it appeared the 17-game losing streak was about to come to an end. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was getting the best out of the battle between him and former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis. Charlotte was pushing the ball at will and getting to the bucket with no troubles. But it would be all for nothing as the Hornets came out in the third quarter with a sense of urgency that carried them to a 98-95 victory.
Throughout this 18-game losing streak the Bobcats have took their fair share of beatings, but in the games where they have a chance they seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Against Portland they blew an 18-point lead in an overtime loss. Two days later, a slew of turnovers in crunch time allowed J.R. Smith the opportunity to hit a walk-off jumper, which he did. The painful losses in which the team held a significant lead would not end there. In Los Angeles, the Lakers overcame an 18-point third quarter deficit to win 101-100. And then there was tonight. A 21-point lead blown at home against a team who came in with one less win and one more loss than our beloved Bobcats.
Frustrated? I think so.
It's quite apparent that the 'Cats' 7-5 start was fools gold, but it's surprising to see this team struggle so much to close games after how well they did it in their wins. One of the biggest reasons the Bobcats are on an 18-game skid is their inability to defend the 3-point line. The Hornets took advantage of this weakness in the second half as they hit nine treys. Charlotte made Roger Mason Jr. relevant again for one night. Mason Jr. hit four triples in the second half with three of them coming in the third quarter.
After obtaining a 17-point lead through the first 24 minutes it took the Hornets just one quarter to even the score at 73. Behind six straight points from Gordon to start the fourth it appeared that Charlotte may be able to pull it together and still get the W. That was not the case as Jeffery Taylor swung momentum back to the Hornets after he overly contested Ryan Anderson's 3-point shot that resulted in three free throws, two of which would go through the bucket.
A pair of layups by Gordon and Robin Lopez evened the score before Hakim Warrick would score two of his 12 points to give the Bobcats their final lead of the game at 81-79. Anderson would hit a go-ahead three off a Bobcat turnover to put the Hornets on top. New Orleans would stretch the lead to as big as nine after Mason Jr. hit a trey with just 47 seconds remaining. It appeared it was a dagger shot, but Gerald Henderson responded with a 3 of his own and MKG followed it up with a steal and a layup.
The two teams traded free throws and with 11 seconds left all the Hornets had to do was inbound the ball and knock down at least one free throw to keep it a two possession game. That didn't happen as the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft chucked the ball too far down the court where a sprinting Gordon couldn't retrieve the ball. With no timeouts left the Bobcats didn't have a chance to draw a play up. Walker took the ball up and handed it off to Gordon who got himself a decent look, but the shot didn't drop. Henderson gave Charlotte one last chance after he grabbed Gordon's miss and kicked it to Ramon Sessions at the 3-point line who had a good luck. Unfortunately, neither shot would fall and the 'Cats left Time Warner Cable arena with another loss.
Charlotte will have a chance to right the ship tomorrow in Chicago, a team that has compiled a 16-12 record without Derrick Rose.