The Suns came out flat offensively and dug themselves into a hole early - again - in this game. Down by 17 at the end of the first quarter, they couldn’t fight their way back into the game even with a 32 point, 11 assist performance by Devin Booker.
The Hornets out shot the Suns 54.5% to 44.8% from the field and 47.1% to 33.3% from three but the killer in this game was the fact that the Suns were out rebounded 53 to 26. The Hornets actually committed 10 more turnovers than the Suns (17 to 7) but that turned into a non-factor because of the rebounding discrepancy.
In just 9 minutes of play, Quincy Acy led the Suns in rebounding with 5. Deandre Ayton had a very bad game with 10 points and 2 rebounds. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 24 points off the bench and T.J. Warren had 16.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 21 points and Jeremy Lamb added 18. Bismack Biyombo had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve center Willy Hernangomez had 9 points and 13 rebounds as well. Eight players scored in double figures for the Hornets. Only four did so for the Suns.
Hornets win the tip and go on a quick 7-0 run before Melton hits a three to stop the bleeding.
Booker has missed his first 3 shots and Charlotte has extended their lead to 14-3 at the 8:38 mark. Kokoskov calls time. Suns are 1 for 6, Hornets are 5 for 6 and have 6 rebounds to none for the Suns.
Warren scores but Kemba Walker strikes back with a three. 19-5 Hornets.
The Suns cannot buy a bucket earlu on and they are now 2 of 9. They are playing good defense but just not hitting their shots. The Hornets now lead 21-9 after the Suns hit four free throws.
Ayton sits with two early fouls as Charlotte goes up 24-9. The Suns call time as they fall behind 29-11 with 4:54 remaining. The Suns have dug themselves into a deep hole... how much deeper will it get?
Phoenix has gone to Point Book and look like they are trying to pick up the pace.
The Suns have ONE rebound so far. Charlotte has 13.
Hornets lead 32-15 at 2:18.
Booker hits a trey, the Suns get a stop and Jackson scores on the other end to cut Charlotte’s lead to 32-20. The Hornets call time after a 7-0 run by the Suns with 1:37 remaining.
The Suns are definitely pushing the pace now but the Hornets push their lead up to 13 as the quarter ends with the score 39-26.
The Suns have shot poorly but have been out rebounded badly, 14 to 4.
Charlotte pushes their lead to 46-33 before Ayton gets his first bucket. Suns now down 53-38 at 6:47.
Suns call time as the Hornets go up 56-38. Charlotte is shooting 53.8% from three and 60.6% from the field. The Suns are hitting 40% of their threes but only 44.8% from the field and the Hornets have out rebounded them 20 to 5.
Ayton picks up his 3rd foul with 5:30 to play. Kokoskov keeps him in.
Hornets go up 64-45 but the Suns don’t look like they’ve given up though. They cut the Hornets’ lead to 66-51 with 3:01 left in the half. Booker now has 18 points to lead all scorers. No other Suns are in double figures.
The Hornets are just hot tonight and not letting up. 52.9% from three.
The Suns manage to keep the game from getting completely out of hand as the half ends with them trailing 71-60.
At the Half
The Suns were killed on the boards in the first half. Charlotte pulled down 27 and the Suns only 11. Ayton only had ONE rebound. Charlotte actually had more turnovers than the Suns (8 vs 5) but their rebounding edge negated that.
Booker had 22 points and 6 assists. Kelly Oubre Jr. has 11 points. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 17 points and Nicolas Batum had 10.
The Hornets shot 55.6% from the field and 47.4% from three. The Suns closed that gap in the second quarter and shot 48.8% from the field and 46.7% from three.
Okobo starts in place of Melton to begin the 3rd quarter and the Suns cut the lead to 9 briefly but Charlotte quickly pushes it back up to 13. 78-65 Hornets.
The Suns are hanging tough for the moment. Hornets lead 80-70 with 7:32 left in the 3rd.
The Hornets are still hot from three (50%) as they take a 89-71 lead at the 6:21 mark. Timeout Suns.
Charlotte is pulling away now, 100-79. They’ve out rebounded the Suns 40 to 15.
Suns trail 109-86 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Phoenix scores the first 9 points of the quarter to make it a 109-95 game. Quincy Acy has 4 rebounds in 2 minutes and now leads the Suns in rebounding tonight. Charlotte still up 42-22 in rebounds.
The Suns are still fighting. Booker goes to the line and makes it a 109-96 game but another three by the Hornets pushes their lead back up to 16.
114-98 Hornets lead with 6:46 to play.
The Suns are putting in the effort but their shots aren’t falling. 120-103 Hornets lead with 4:27 to play.
Hornets up 126-108 with 2:34 to play. Booker sits and the Suns have conceded this game.
This game is over.
Suns lose 135-115.
On to Minnesota.