CHARLOTTE — An emphatic windmill dunk from Miles Bridges in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter capped off the Charlotte Hornets’ comeback victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
Back home in the Spectrum Center after a 10-day absence and five-game road trip, the Hornets (7-7) trailed by 16 early in the game but rallied for a 104-96 win.
The 96 points scored by the Knicks (7-6) were the second-least amount allowed by the Hornets in their 14 games so far.
“For three quarters, our defense was fantastic,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “After that first quarter, we allowed 21, 21, 20 and got some big stops down the stretch.”
On offense, Bridges led the Hornets with 24 points and four rebounds, while an aggressive second-half performance by Gordon Hayward provided the initial spark for his team in the third quarter. A nine-point halftime deficit was erased in just 100 seconds by the 12th-year small forward, who finished with 22 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Borrego, celebrating his 44th birthday, mentioned that all he wanted tonight was a win. His players delivered that gift with their second-consecutive victory coming off a five-game losing streak.
“The guys, as I told them, deserve the credit for this,” he said. “Obviously, it was not the start we wanted, but we found our way. We dug in there in the second quarter and found a hold of the game to get back in it and then the third quarter was huge — great teamwork.”
LaMelo Ball had a modest night from the field with 4-of-13 shooting for 12 points but nearly recorded a triple-double with nine assists and a career-high 17 rebounds; the reigning Rookie of the Year added a season-high five steals.
Joining in on the action were shooting guards Terry Rozier with 18 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. with 12 bench points in his follow-up game to his 37-point performance against Memphis (6-5) on Wednesday.
The Hornets converted eight of their final 19 shots from behind the arc after missing 15 of their first 17 attempts — the Knicks were 13 of 35 from 3-point territory.
Former Hornet All-Star Kemba Walker led the Knicks with a team-high 26 points in the game, but the 11th-year point guard didn’t get much offensive support from the rest of the Knicks starters. New York’s two scoring leaders going into the game — Julius Randle and RJ Barrett — were limited to a combined 12 points after averaging 38.8 points coming into Friday’s game..
The Hornets will square off against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors (10-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Spectrum Center. The two teams met previously on Nov. 3 in San Francisco, a 114-92 Warriors win.