SAN ANTONIO — Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Terry Rozier added 24 and the Charlotte Hornets held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 100-97 on Monday night in their first game since losing LaMelo Ball to injury.
Ball suffered a fractured right wrist Saturday after a hard fall against the Los Angeles Clippers. Regarded as the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honours , Ball is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Bismack Biyombo and Malik Monk had 11 points apiece and P.J. Washington added 10 points and 13 rebounds as Charlotte snapped a three-game skid.
The Spurs had won four of five but struggled to contain the Hornets’ frontcourt.
DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and Derrick White added 21 for the Spurs to open a nine-game homestand.
The Spurs tied the game at 93 with 1:45 remaining following a 3-pointer by White and a three-point play by DeRozan. Rozier hit a step-back 27-footer to give the Hornets a lead they would not relinquish again.
San Antonio held Charlotte to 19 points in the third quarter to pare a double-digit deficit. The defensive push continued into the fourth when White’s jumper put the Spurs up 76-74 for their first lead since White’s game-opening 3-pointer.
The defensive effort was needed after Charlotte used a balanced attack to offset Ball’s loss in building a 12-point lead.
Ball’s absence was evident early as Charlotte was held to two fast-break points in the first quarter. The Hornets were fifth in the league in fast-break points at 15.1 per game but were held to five against the Spurs.
Still, Charlotte found a way to exploit San Antonio’s defence , shooting 5 for 8 on 3-pointers in taking an 11-point lead in the first quarter. The Hornets finished 12 for 32 on 3-pointers.
Charlotte used an eight-man rotation with everyone playing at least 16 minutes. Washington played a game-high 41 minutes and Rozier played 39.
Hornets: Charlotte held San Antonio to 45 points in the first half after allowing 47 points in the second quarter of a 122-114 home loss to the Spurs on Feb. 14. … Cody Zeller missed his second straight game with left shoulder bursitis. Coach James Borrego is hopeful Zeller will be available Wednesday at Houston. … Listed as probable with a bruised left hip, Rozier was cleared a half hour before tipoff after testing the injury during warmups.
Spurs: San Antonio point guard Dejounte Murray arrived wearing Becky Hammon’s Colorado State jersey complete with her surname and No. 25. The Spurs assistant coach starred at Colorado State before playing 16 years in the WNBA equally between the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars. Rudy Gay paid tribute to Rebecca Lobo by wearing the Connecticut All-American’s No. 50 jersey and DeRozan wore Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller’s No. 31 jersey from Southern California. … The nine-game homestand is the longest in franchise history, surpassing the seven straight home games the Spurs had in 2012.
Hornets: Visit the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
Spurs: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Raul Dominguez, The Associated Press