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Charlotte Hornets credit star-like performance from Graham, Biyombo in 122-120 OT win over Pacers



The Charlotte Hornets (4-3) showed their resilience when they hosted the Indiana Pacers (3-4) on Tuesday night at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.


The first two quarters were a wash for the Hornets as they struggled from behind by double digits for much of the first-half.


At the end of the third-quarter, the Hornets trailed the Pacers 90-78.


But the fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker as the Hornets rallied back to take the lead with 6:24 left in the game. They erased a Pacers lead that had been as high as 19-points.


Defense led to offense for Charlotte and it started with a Bismack Biyombo steal that he converted to a dunk to bring the Hornets in range of taking the lead. Later, Graham fed Biyombo for the slam to bring the Hornets within one. And after a the free throw made by Terry Rozier due to a Pacers technical foul that tied the game the Hornets had the crowd pumped. On the very next posession, Rozier knocked down a three to give Charlotte the 97-94 lead.


Regulation ended when Charlotte's DeVonte Graham's pass was deflected and intercepted by the Pacers. After the timeout, Indiana in-bounded the ball with 1.6 left on the clock and the game tied 113-113 but could not convert for the win.


In overtime, Graham's free throw after an and-one lifted the Hornets to a 118-117 lead with under two minutes left in the overtime period. He later added two more free throws to extend the lead to 120-118 with 27.2 left in OT.


Former Hornet's guard Jeremy Lamb's jumper tied the game at 120-120 with 5.2 left in OT.


DeVonte Graham was fouled attempting a 3-pointer for the win. He made the first two and missed the third with 1.7 left in OT. But the Pacers could not get a shot off. The Hornets held on to win in overtime 122-120.


Graham turned in the top performance and a franchise high off the bench for the Hornets going 10-21 from the field and 4-9 from 3-point range for 35-points, 6-assists and 3 steals. Terry Rozier had 22-points and 4 assists followed up by Miles Bridges' 18-points. Rookie forward PJ Washington also scored in double figures and had 16-points but suffered a lower leg contusion during the game. Hornets' head coach James Borrego was enthusiastic about Graham's performance. "I trust him, believe in him ...he's a special player," Borrego said.



Borrego also gave a lot of credit to the defensive efforts of Bismack Biyombo who turned in a 15-point performance, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks as well as rookie Cody Martin (11 RBS).


"I thought Biz turned the game when we brought him in to start the fourth, just with his energy, his defense, he blocked the big shot ...he was all over the place," Borrego said during the post-game press conference.


"You gotta give Cody Martin the same credit ...to play 34 minutes, not have a single point ...have 11-rebounds and have his imprint all this game ...to me those two guys turned the game."


The Hornets host the Boston Celtics featuring former All-Star point guard Kemba Walker on Thursday.


FINAL SCORE OT:

Pacers 120

Hornets 122


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