CHARLOTTE — With the full return of Terry Rozier on Sunday night — back in action after being sidelined with ankle injuries — Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego finally saw a complete performance from the starting five over the summer.
Recording a season-high 36 assists with only nine turnovers, the Hornets (5-2) put together a 125-113 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (3-3) with six different players hitting double digits in points.
Charlotte had one of its top offensive nights of the season, shooting 46 of 89 (.517) from the field with 20 3-pointers (.476).
“It felt good to have our whole group back together,” Borrego said. “Terry’s a huge part of what we’re doing here. He’s, in a lot of ways, the heart and soul of this group.”
Rozier had 14 points and five assists in his 33 minutes; the shooting guard had played one game this season but only in a limited role.
LaMelo Ball bounced back from Friday’s 2-for-14 showing as he notched 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Miles Bridges added 19 points and nine assists, while Gordon Hayward had 12 points and five rebounds.
Even for a roster that has no lack of shooters, it certainly helped that team newcomer Kelly Oubre Jr. generated 26 points (6 of 11 from 3-point range), seven rebounds and five assists off the bench. Half of his points came in the fourth quarter where Charlotte went up by as many as 13 points over Portland.
“He’s been fantastic,” Borrego said on Oubre’s start to the season. “This is why we brought him here and we believed in him. And we believe there’s a major role for him on this team, and tonight was a great example of that.”
P.J. Washington was another Hornet that stepped up in a prominent bench role, making all eight shots from the field for 17 points. After the game, he spoke of the impact Charlotte’s bench has made so far this year.
“We come in and push the pace,” Washington said. “We all know we can make a difference in the game, whether that’s scoring, passing the ball, rebounding. We all just come in and try to give us a lead and push the lead or get back in the game.”
In what has become a recurring pattern for the Hornets, the team once again climbed back from a halftime deficit to achieve victory. Portland led by seven heading into the third quarter, but Charlotte outscored the Blazers 72-53 in the second half.
For the Blazers, C.J. McCollum posted a team-high 25 points, and Damian Lillard had 14 points and 12 assists. In a spark off the bench, shooting guard Anfernee Simons made five 3-pointers along with his season-high 19 points.
Charlotte will look for its sixth win of the season on Monday as Cleveland (3-4) comes to town. The Hornets and Cavaliers previously squared off Oct. 22, a 123-112 Charlotte win.