Rozier, Ball guide Hornets past Spurs in home thriller

Charlotte has now won consecutive games for the first time since January

Hornets guard Terry Rozier scores as Spurs guard Devin Vassell looks on during Charlotte's home win Saturday.(Chris Carlson / AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE — Terry Rozier continued his stretch of hot shooting, LaMelo Ball delivered a balanced performance, and the Charlotte Hornets pulled off a 123-117 home victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.

With the win, the Hornets (32-33) climbed back to one game below .500 as they notched a pair of consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 28. 

The Spurs (24-40) came within two points of the Hornets in the final minutes but Charlotte used a group of successful free throws — particularly some clutch foul shots from Cody Martin — to stay out of reach in closing time. 

“For us, these are important wins, especially in the clutch like that to win close games,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “We haven’t closed very well as of late and a lot of that is free throws and rebounding. Tonight, we did enough to get it done. Really proud of the guys who stepped up and made free throws.”

The Hornets led 62-60 at halftime and while the Spurs matched their 37 third-quarter points, Charlotte advanced with a 24-20 edge in the final quarter of action.

Rozier led Charlotte in scoring with 31 points while adding five rebounds and six assists. The guard did the majority of his damage from the 3-point line where he made six out of eight shots. Ball provided 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, as P.J. Washington notched 15 points and five rebounds in his recurring starting role.

“We keep getting better and hopefully we can keep closing out games like this if it is close,” Rozier said. “We’re going to need all the fans to come out and fill this arena. It’s nothing but fun and every game matters to us. This is what we live for and this is what we get paid to do.”

Keldon Johnson scored a team-high 33 points in 37 minutes for San Antonio along with eight rebounds. Dejounte Murray provided a stat line of 25 points, nine rebounds and ten assists; Devin Vassell factored into the mix with 14 points as Jakob Poeltl had 11 points. 

On his birthday night, Mason Plumlee brought a physical performance to the floor with 13 rebounds. Additionally, Montrezl Harrell, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Martin each had impactful efforts off the bench; Harrell generated 15 points (7 of 10 from the field) while Oubre and Martin both scored a dozen.

Charlotte’s season will continue next week with a home game against Brooklyn (32-32) on Tuesday followed by a home game against Boston (38-27) on Wednesday. The Hornets currently hold the ninth-spot within the Eastern Conference standings with a slight edge over the tenth-place Atlanta Hawks (31-32).

At this point, every game holds a lot of weight into Charlotte’s potential postseason arrangement.

“I definitely felt like it was a big step in the right direction,” Ball said on Saturday’s win. “Obviously, whenever you get a win, I feel like it’s a big step. So we’re definitely going to keep trying to add on wins and stay in that direction.”