February 27, 2020 / 2:52 AM / a month ago

Hornets rely on backcourt as Knicks lose 5th straight

EditorsNote: minor edits

Feb 26, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York Knicks forward center Taj Gibson (67) drives in as he is defended by Charlotte Hornets center Bismarck Biyombo (8) during the first half at the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Rozier scored 26 points and Devonte’ Graham added 21 points as the backcourt for the Charlotte Hornets made a huge difference in a 107-101 victory against the visiting New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

PJ Washington and Bismack Biyombo each added 12 points, and Miles Bridges had 10 points as the Hornets bounced back a night after one of their most miserable outings of the season.

The Knicks, who have lost five games in a row, closed within 97-95 with just less than three minutes to play. Graham scored the next three points on free throws.

From there, Rozier answered for the Hornets’ next four points to keep the Knicks at bay. Rozier was 8-for-8 on foul shots.

Julius Randle put up 18 points, Bobby Portis had 17 points and Allonzo Trier provided 15 points to pace the Knicks. Also contributing were Mitchell Robinson’s 12 points and 16 rebounds and Taj Gibson’s 10 points.

More than half of the Knicks points (57) came from reserves. As a team, the Knicks were 4-for-15 on 3-point attempts.

Charlotte had lost its previous three home games since defeating the Knicks on Jan. 28.

The Hornets, who were held to a season-low point total a night earlier in a 119-80 loss at the Indiana Pacers, held a 56-46 halftime lead, shooting 55.8 percent from the field. Rozier had 16 points by the break.

New York’s starting backcourt of Elfrid Payton and RJ Barrett had six points at the half and ended up with a combined 11 points on 5-for-19 shooting. Payton was back after missing two games with a sprained right ankle.

The Hornets revealed earlier in the day that guard Malik Monk was out indefinitely with a suspension for violating terms of the anti-drug program in place by the NBA and the players association. He had started just one game, but averaged 10.3 points in 55 games this season, and 18.2 over the previous seven games.

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