Hornets rally from 21 down to beat Suns 115-110
Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum (5) drives to the basket past the defense of Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
By Bob Baum, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Nicolas Batum scored 22 points and the Charlotte Hornets rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 115-110 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time).
Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard added 18 apiece for the Hornets, who staged their biggest comeback of the season and matched their season best with three straight wins.
Rookie Josh Jackson scored a career-high 23 and T.J. Warren added 21 for the Suns, who led 78-57 with 7:53 left in the third quarter. Devin Booker and Dragan Bender added 18 apiece.
Booker, already playing with bruised ribs, left the game with a left hip pointer with 6:53 to play. Phoenix played without forward Marquese Chriss due to a team rules violation.
The Hornets, opening a four-game trip through the West, outscored the Suns 20-2 to start the fourth quarter. Booker was hurt fouling Cody Zeller on a layup, and that three-point play capped the outburst and gave Charlotte a 106-96 lead.
Bender's driving dunk cut it to 112-107 with 1:31 left before Treveon Graham sealed the win with a three-pointer with 34.8 seconds to play. Graham scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Lamb also scored 15 for Charlotte.
A 15-6 second-quarter run helped Phoenix build a 59-48 halftime lead.
Phoenix made four consecutive triples — two by Booker, one by Warren and one by Bender — to take that 78-57 lead. Charlotte whittled it to 94-86 entering the final quarter.
Hornets: After scoring a franchise-record 49 points in a win over Indiana Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), Charlotte scored 48 in the first half on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). ... Charlotte had a 26-6 advantage in second-chance points. ... Howard earned his 700th career double-double.
Suns: Booker made didn't shoot a free throw, so his string of consecutive makes from the line remains at 60. It's a franchise record for a single season. The Suns' overall record for consecutive free throws made is 74, spread over the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. ... Phoenix made 15 triples (in 29 attempts), two off their season best. ... Suns made seven field goals and committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Suns officials would not use the word "suspended" in describing why Chriss would miss Monday's game. General manager Ryan McDonough called it "a cooling-off period." The team did not explain what Chriss did but ESPN reported he had a verbal confrontation with the Suns' strength coach. The second-year forward has started 40 games this season.
Hornets: At Denver Nuggets on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time).
Suns: At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).