The first 12 minutes was a tough watch, as the advantage was Charlotte’s, 30-22. It would have been total bloodshed if it wasn’t for Jerami Grant’s 5-of-10 shooting effort, along with Isaiah Stewart coming off the bench bringing rebounding and energy for a boost toward the end of the quarter. Otherwise, Detroit shot 2-of-13 from downtown. Charlotte’s wasn’t much better at 2-of-8, but they penetrated and spread the ball around for easier looks in the paint. LaMelo Ball struggled scoring the ball, but he made a few elite passes that NBA fans are getting used to.
Detroit did not make a trip to the foul line.
The second quarter was even uglier, as Detroit put up just 17. Good news is they only gave up 18. This half was played by two teams coming off a week of rest from the All-Star break, and it very much showed.
Saddiq Bey, the NBA’s leader in threes made among rookies, drilled three triples in six tries in the first half.
In the third, offensive execution picked up considerably as Detroit scored 33 to Charlotte’s 25. Stewart hit a smooth face up jumper and battled inside. Josh Jackson was everywhere and anywhere, but just couldn’t hit enough shots. Dennis Smith Jr. hit two threes and made a couple impressive defensive plays. Grant made some elite level moves for buckets.
Detroit took the lead twice, however Charlotte took a 73-72 advantage going into the final 12 minutes.
The fourth was mostly a back and forth affair. The whole quarter was seemingly played within a five-point spread.
Svi Mykhailiuk wasn’t very good tonight shooting the ball, though he contributed in other ways. Particularly in the fourth, he made a number of on-target passes whether penetrating and kicking out or making the proper swing pass. He was effective without looking for his shot hardly at all, and finished with eight assists. One of the beneficiaries of a Svi kick out pass was Stewart, who knocked down a triple.
Grant finished the game with 32 points — several of his buckets had you shaking your head. He did not have much consistent help tonight, as Bey was the next high scorer with 14.
Inside three minutes to play, Terry Rozier did his part in taking over the game with a four-point play and a three-point play. And then if that wasn’t scary enough, Terry made a few more terrific shots to seal the deal. The Hornets win lots of close games and they did not disappoint.
Detroit will meet a couple of former friends of the program in Brooklyn Saturday night. Be there or be square.