RECAP: LaMelo Ball leads Charlotte Hornets past Houston Rockets

Feb 8, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins (15) passes off to forward Danuel House Jr. (4) covered by Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (40) during the first quarter at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie LaMelo Ball drilled a career-best seven 3-pointers as the Charlotte Hornets blitzed the Houston Rockets from behind the arc in their 119-94 win on Monday at the Spectrum Center.

Ball paired 24 points with 10 assists to pace the Hornets, who improved to 4-0 at home in the second half of back-to-back sets. Charlotte finished 19 for 41 on 3-pointers, with Ball, Gordon Hayward (3 for 5) and Terry Rozier (3 for 8) hitting at least three 3-pointers to lead the charge.

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Still, despite the Hornets’ barrage, the Rockets pulled even at 87-87 with 23.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter on a second-chance basket from rookie forward Jae’Sean Tate. But Houston did not score another field goal until Victor Oladipo sank a 3 with 4:16 left to play, and the Hornets seized control with a 21-1 run that pushed the Rockets into a 108-88 hole.

Hayward scored 19 points while Rozier chipped in 15. Miles Bridges (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Malik Monk (14 points, 6-for-11 shooting) scored in double figures off the Charlotte bench.

The Rockets, playing without starters Christian Wood (right ankle sprain) and John Wall (rest) plus Eric Gordon (rest), were led by Oladipo (21 points, seven rebounds, six assists).

Danuel House Jr. and Tate scored 13 points apiece as Houston, which has dropped three of four games, featured its 14th different starting lineup. The Rockets missed 34 of their 47 3-pointers.

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Ben McLemore, playing primarily because Wall and Gordon were unavailable, kept Houston afloat with 15 first-half points on 4 of 5 3s. He was the linchpin of a 9-2 spurt that resulted in a 53-50 lead on a House dunk late in the second, but the Hornets responded with a 12-3 run of their own.

That followed one especially brilliant stretch from Ball, who sandwiched two 3s around an assist on a Gordon 3-pointer. Ball opened the third with his fifth 3 to surpass his career high.

–Field Level Media