CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)The Charlotte Hornets were coming off a 20-point road loss to the Orlando Magic, playing on the second night of a back-to-back and without their starting front court of LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier.
So they had no chance against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, right?
Well, think again.
P.J. Washington erupted for 31 points, Gordon Hayward added 23 and the Hornets once again spoiled Stephen Curry’s annual homecoming game with a 120-113 overtime win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
Kelly Oubre Jr added 18 points as the Hornets beat the Warriors for the fourth straight year at the Spectrum Center, just a few miles from where Curry grew up.
”They obviously understand who is coming into the building so they don’t want to give us anything easy,” Curry said. ”We knew they were going to come out aggressive and with a sense of pride and they did that.”
Curry scored 31 points and had 11 rebounds to pace the Warriors, but missed a tightly contested 3-pointer at the end of regulation that would have won the game. He also air-balled a 3 in overtime and finished 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Jordan Poole had 24 points off the bench for Golden State.
In the extra period, Jalen McDaniels knocked down a momentum-turning 3-pointer from the left wing and Dennis Smith Jr. scored on a drive to the hole to give the Hornets the lead for good at 116-111.
Curry made two free throws but Washington scored again inside, muscling a shot up and in to push the lead back to five. Washington had six points in the overtime period.
”It goes to show we have a lot of character,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. ”We played poorly last night. … but you could just tell in shootaround. I didn’t know we were going to win, but I knew we were going to play well. Just the way they walked into the building and the way they were talking to each other.”
Smith finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Charlotte. He also was all over Curry on the final possession of regulation, not allowing him to get to the basket or get a decent look at a 3-pointer.
Curry lamented his decision to settle for a 3 instead of driving to the hole and looking to create.
”I can get a way better look than that,” Curry said. ”I got wrapped in the trying to play hero ball in a hometown buzzer-beater type situation.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green said it was frustrating to surrender a four-point lead in the final minute regulation after Washington hit a turnaround jumper and Smith scored on a driving layup to tie the game.
”We never lose those games.” Green said. ”I can probably recall on one hand over the last eight years that we lost a game up four with a minute to go. So that is deflating form that standpoint. We can’t lose that game. That’s also a team without their two starting guards.”
The Warriors have not beaten the Hornets in Charlotte since Feb. 25, 2019.
”We have to get one next year,” Curry said.
The Hornets had built 62-50 halftime lead behind 15 points each from Hayward and Washington and some terrific hustle from Mason Plumlee, who had nine rebounds and six assists before the break.
Warriors: Fell to 0-2 on the road. … Draymond Green fouled out with 22.9 seconds left in overtime. … Shot 13 of 44 from 3-point range.
Hornets: Clifford hopes to get Ball (ankle), Rozier (ankle) and Cody Martin (quad) back on the court soon, but offered no set timetable. All three have participated in the last couple of shootarounds and are ”getting closer.”
Warriors: at Pistons on Sunday night.
Hornets: Host Kings on Monday night.
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