The Charlotte Hornets gutted out a much-needed win against the Toronto Raptors, 119-116. Charlotte had a double-digit lead for a bulk of the game. It even ballooned to 20 points at one point. Unfortunately, it unraveled fast in the fourth quarter and Toronto even managed to take the lead. In order to avoid the major collapse, though, a lot of things went in Charlotte's favor. Both Miles Bridges and Gordon Hayward played vital roles in their late push for the comeback win and had a combined 46 points.
After the 119-116 win, both Bridges and Hayward kept it real as they almost collapsed in the end.
Miles Bridges explains what went wrong for Hornets
“I feel like it was the turnovers for us,” Bridges said. “The turnovers got them going, then they start getting offensive rebounds, get their confidence up and it went from there. I feel like if we keep the ball away from them, continue to get good shots, limit them to one shot, we’ll be fine. But they did a great job of coming back and staying with it.”
Toronto is a long, athletic team that is used to mucking it up in the passing lanes. They clog up the paint and rotate guys in the perfect position to make a play on the ball on either side of it. Both Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby are two of the better defenders in the NBA. Even so, Bridges elaborated on how they were able to pull out that tough win.
“We just had to settle down. That jump ball with Brandon (Miller), where he got it, we missed a shot, got an offensive rebound and then got that 3, that’s where we settled down a little bit. All we had to do was settle down a little bit and respond to their physicality,” Bridges added.
Gordon Hayward breaks down the the comeback
“I think if I remember right Miles [Bridges] hit a big three. Something happened, we hit a big shot and I think that got us going,” Hayward said. “We got punched in the face there and they were on a huge run, we couldn’t hit shots and they were getting layups and open threes – and anything they wanted. So, we hit some big shots and that settled us a little bit and we were able to get some stops to close the game. Certainly not the way we wanted to win. When you’re up that big you want to close out the game but they have veteran guys that have been through it so, they weren’t going to give up.”
In today's NBA, 20-point leads don't mean too much. They can get erased as easily as it was created by any team any given night. The Raptors are no different. They hung around long enough to make the entire arena believe that the home team blew it. Cleary the Hornets persevered and managed to keep a lid on this one.
In doing so, Charlotte had four guys score 20 or more points and had six guys total in double-figures. They were a scorching 55.7 percent from the field, 52 percent from three, and 90 percent from the stripe. It's only the second time in franchise history they had those kind of shooting splits. The last time was against the Orlando Magic back in 2018. Maybe this is a sign of good things to come for Charlotte as they look to keep working their way up the Eastern Conference standings ladder amid LaMelo Ball's absence.