Hornets’ fourth-quarter rally comes up short against Cavaliers

Charlotte was outscored 40-21 by Cleveland in the first quarter of play

Hornets forward P.J. Washington blocks a shot from Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton during Cleveland's 113-110 win Monday in Charlotte. (Matt Kelley / AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE — It’s not often that a basketball team outscores its opponent in three out of four quarters and still loses the game, but that’s exactly what happened to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-4) took advantage of their ferocious 40-21 start in the first 12 minutes of the game and held on despite the Hornets’ efforts to get back in the game in a 113-110 decision in Charlotte.

Terry Rozier’s potential game-tying 3-pointer grazed the rim and fell to the floor as Charlotte’s 26-12 scoring run in the final seven minutes came up just short.

Rozier had 23 points and six rebounds in his second full game back from injury.

“We have been able to dig ourselves out of holes so far this season, but we can’t rely on doing that every night,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “It was a frustrating start to the game, but we won the second, third and fourth quarters, and we were right there so we continued to battle.”

The Hornets (5-3) turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter after having just nine turnovers in the entirety of Sunday’s win over Portland.

At the same time that Charlotte was struggling to extend possessions, Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen took control of the paint on the other side of the court. The center finished the night with 24 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

“We just have to have a better sense of urgency,” Hornets forward Miles Bridges said. “I feel like we’re coming out too lackadaisical just thinking teams are just going to give us a lead, and then (they) come out and hit us in the face first. We just got to do a better job with taking the first hit.”

Bridges finished more than 11 points below his scoring average with just 13 points, but he added nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals in the loss.

Point guard LaMelo Ball led the Hornets with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Only eight games into his second season, Ball has already tied the amount of 30-point performances (two) that he achieved in his Rookie of the Year debut campaign.

The second-year lottery pick has notably improved his long-range shooting, adding a 5-for-8 showing from behind the arc Monday. After the game, he attributed his increased 3-point threat to “putting in the work and shooting day and night.”

Coming off the bench to provide valuable minutes, P.J. Washington added 18 points for the Hornets, while Cody Martin posted 10 points and six rebounds.

The Hornets will say goodbye to Spectrum Center as they set off to begin a five-game West Coast road trip this week that starts with Golden State on Wednesday and ends in Memphis on Nov. 10.