SOUTH CAROLINA ROUTES, CHARLOTTE — — The Charlotte Hornets were playing the second game of a back-to-back without starting forwards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier and fresh off a 20-point defeat on the road to the Orlando Magic.
Obviously, they couldn’t hope to win against the Golden State Warriors, the reigning NBA champions.
Oh, how wrong you are.
On Saturday night, the Hornets defeated the Warriors 120-113 in overtime thanks to a career-high performance from P.J. Washington. Gordon Hayward added 23 points.
At the Spectrum Center, only a few miles from where Curry grew up, the Hornets defeated the Warriors for the fourth consecutive season, with help from 18 points from Kelly Oubre Jr.
According to Curry, the building’s inhabitants “clearly knows who is going into the building and hence don’t want to offer us anything easy.” We anticipated an aggressive, proud debut from them, and they delivered.
Curry led the Warriors with 31 points and 11 boards, but he also missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation that would have sealed the victory. In overtime, he shanked a 3-point attempt and completed the game 3 for 13.
For Golden State, Jordan Poole scored 24 points off the bench.
In overtime, Jalen McDaniels made a game-changing 3-pointer from the left wing, and then Dennis Smith Jr. scored on a drive to the basket to give the Hornets a 116-111 advantage.
Despite two free throws from Curry, Washington scored again in the paint, this time putting the ball on a string to bury a jumper that put the Wizards ahead by five. The extra session ended with six points for Washington.
It shows we have a lot of character,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford stated. We had a bad performance the night before, and you could tell right away at shootaround. To be honest, I didn’t think we’d win, but I had confidence in our performance. The way they entered the building and the conversation they were having.”
Smith led Charlotte with 13 points and also added 9 rebounds and 8 assists. On the game’s last play, he was all over Curry, denying him a layup or a clean look at a 3-pointer.
Curry was disappointed in himself for settling for a 3-pointer instead of going for the basket in an attempt to spark a run.
Curry said, “I can get a far better look than that.” “I got caught up in wanting to be a hero on the basketball court by scoring a buzzer-beating basket in front of my home crowd.”
Draymond Green, a forward for the Warriors, expressed frustration after Washington tied the game with a turnaround jumper and Smith scored the go-ahead basket with a driving layup in the last minute of regulation.
Our record in those games is perfect. Said Green. In the previous eight years, I can count on one hand the number of times we blew a four-point lead with less than a minute to go and ended up losing the game. If you take that stance, it’s a bit of a downer. We just cannot afford to lose that match. And that’s a squad minus their two best guards.
The last time the Warriors won over the Hornets in Charlotte was on February 25, 2019.
We need to get one next year,” Curry said.
With 15 points each from Hayward and Washington and tremendous hustle from Mason Plumlee, who also had nine rebounds and six assists for the Hornets at the half, the team led by 62-50.
The Warriors are already 0-2…. With 22.9 seconds remaining in overtime, Draymond Green was eliminated due to foul trouble… Only made 13 of 44 3-point attempts.
Clifford is optimistic that Ball (ankle), Rozier (ankle), and Cody Martin (quad) will be able to play for the Hornets again soon, but he has not given a timetable for their return. All of them have participated in recent shootarounds and are “getting closer.”
The Warriors will play the Pistons on the road on Sunday.
On Monday night, the Hornets will be hosting the Kings.