CHARLOTTE — Terry Rozier had 22 points and six assists while P.J. Washington added 19 points and six rebounds on Wednesday night as the Charlotte Hornets recorded their second home win of the season, snapping a home losing streak that dated back to October.
Trailing to the 76ers (9-9) by 12 points after the first quarter, the Hornets (5-14) went on to outscore Philadelphia in each of the following three quarters — taking advantage of 72 points in the paint — as they pulled away for a 107-101 win.
It was the Hornets’ second victory in a span of 13 games and first without LaMelo Ball since Oct. 29. The star point guard returned from an ankle injury after missing the team’s first 13 games but played just three before reinjuring it and missing the last three.
“We were better after the first quarter; we held them to 68 in the final three quarters,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said, adding he was impressed with Rozier’s composure late in the game. “(The Sixers) just blitzed all his pick and rolls, so he’s bringing the ball up the floor and he’s just not getting a lot of easy shots because of the situation right now. He’s playing huge minutes and he’s got a lot of responsibility, but he obviously took over there in the fourth quarter.”
Rozier’s leadership at the guard position was sorely needed for the Hornets, who have not been playing with a full deck all season. Charlotte’s ongoing injury issues continued Wednesday when guard Dennis Smith Jr. reaggravated an ankle injury and had to leave the game.
“Some of these guys — and he’s one of them — sprain their ankles so much that they bounce back quickly. That’s what we have to hope for,” Clifford said of Smith.
Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points for Charlotte while Mason Plumlee had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Nick Richards and Jalen McDaniels combined for 24 points and 26 rebounds off the bench.
Still missing Joel Embiid (foot) and James Harden (foot), Philadelphia used a makeshift lineup similar to the one Charlotte has used this season.
Shake Milton had a team-high 22 points, seven rebounds and nine assists for the Sixers, and De’Anthony Melton had 20 points and four steals. Tobias Harris joined in the action with 19 points and five rebounds.
Charlotte will have Thanksgiving to rest before gearing up for a Friday afternoon home game against Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves (10-8).
“Just to be at home playing in front of our home crowd and fans, we’re going to need everybody’s energy every given night and try to bring it home like we did tonight,” Rozier said.