CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Terry Rozier sought out Charlotte Hornets teammate Mason Plumlee, the team’s 7-foot center, after the game Sunday night game and joked with him that he plans to handle all jump balls going forward.
Rozier outleaped Draymond Green on a late jump ball and also made two key free throws to help the Hornets snap the Golden State Warriors’ winning streak at seven, 106-102 on Sunday night.
Rozier finished with 20 points — all in the second half — Miles Bridges had 22, LaMelo Ball added 21, and Cody Martin had 12 points and eight rebounds. The Hornets improved to 8-7, winning three straight after a five-game skid.
“This says a lot for our team and where we are headed,” Rozier said. “We are trying to go places and get our organization like theirs. This is a great step to where we think we want to go.”
With the Hornets leading by two, Green and Andre Iguodala trapped Rozier near the sideline at midcourt with 15.3 seconds left, forcing a jump ball.
Given the size discrepancy, it looked as if Warriors would get the ball back and have a chance to win or second the game into overtime, but the 6-foot-1 Rozier outleaped the 6-foot-6 Green and the Hornets controlled the tip with Jalen McDaniels coming down with the ball.
The Warriors were forced to quickly foul and Rozier and he made both free throws with 12.7 seconds to make it a two-possession game. Golden State missed its final two shots.
“I think it is more like the timing of the ball,” Rozier said. “… I definitely wanted it because I had just turned the ball over and it was like everybody in the whole gym was looking at No. 3. I just wanted to try to make a play for our team and it worked out.”
Green said the official was still talking to him and Rozier when he threw the ball up in the air, and he was caught off-guard.
“He was like, ‘I’m going to throw the ball all the way to the top, it’s going all the way…’ and then boom!'” Green said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, (crap)!’ But like I said, I have to get that jump regardless of the situation.”
Andrew Wiggins scored 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting for Golden State, and Stephen Curry added 24 points and 10 assists in his annual homecoming game. Coming off an eight-game homestand, the Warriors dropped to 11-2.
The game featured 25 lead changes and neither team led by more than seven points.
The intensity picked up after Charlotte’s Kelly Oubre Jr. was charged with a double-technical and ejected early in the fourth quarter after complaining to an official about a non-call on a driving layup.
It went back and forth from there, with both sides chirping at the officials.
Crew chief David Guthrie said Oubre was ejected because of two separate unsportsmanlike acts.
“The first technical foul was for an overt unsportsmanlike action indicating resentment to a no call,” Guthrie said on the NBA pool report. “The second technical was for an unsportsmanlike wave off directed towards the official.”
The left-handed shooting Bridges once again led the Hornets in scoring, and it was the forward’s right-hand hook shot in the lane with 39 seconds left that gave Charlotte the lead for good.
It was a packed house at the Spectrum Center to see Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and played at Davidson College.
Curry gave the crowd something to cheer about when he made a steal in the front court and then launched a no-look, over-the-head pass up the court that hit Jordan Poole in stride for a breakaway dunk. Curry also connected on a 37-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter to give the Warriors the lead.
But Curry wasn’t happy with his own shot selection in the second half.
“I got roped into a little bit trying to go for those daggers a couple of times when I didn’t really have it,” Curry said. “So it’s a good learning lesson in the early part of the season, especially on the road.”