Terry Rozier again scores big vs. Wolves as Hornets roll

EditorsNote: adds city in lede; changes to Devonte in fourth graf

Terry Rozier scored 31 points and Gordon Hayward returned to Charlottes starting lineup as the Hornets picked up their most lopsided win of the season, 135-102 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

Rozier netted 15 points and hit four 3-pointers during a 21-2 third-quarter surge that broke the game open for Charlotte, which later led by as many as 38 points and handed the Timberwolves their ninth consecutive defeat. Rozier scored 41 points against Minnesota in a 120-114 win at Charlotte on Feb. 12.

Hayward finished with 23 points, nine assists, five rebounds and five steals in 31 minutes after missing Charlottes prior two games with a bruised hand.

But the Hornets, who again played without Devonte Graham (left knee) and Cody Zeller (hip), also lost P.J. Washington to a right ankle sprain with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter.

The injury occurred when Minnesotas Jarrett Culver accidentally kicked Washington on the back of his right leg as he was coming down from a layup attempt under the basket. Washington finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Hornets, who went 3-3 on their six-game road trip to wrap up the seasons first half, are hopeful the All-Star break will provide valuable rest for their injured players.

Ricky Rubio led the Timberwolves with 20 points and nine assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.

Anthony Edwards scored 19 points and Jake Layman added 14.

The loss dropped Minnesota to 0-5 since Chris Finch replaced Ryan Saunders as coach, and the Timberwolves allowed more than 130 points for the third time during that span. The Wolves are also 1-11 since Towns returned to their lineup.

Charlottes LaMelo Ball, who was recently named the Eastern Conferences Rookie of the Month, finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Ball fell a point short of his sixth consecutive 20-point game.

Malik Monk had 18 points and Miles Bridges scored 13 off the bench for the Hornets.

Kelly Oubre Jr. out with a sprained wrist

The Golden State Warriors are wrapping up their first half schedule, but they’re suddenly without the services of one of their hottest offensive players. Kelly Oubre Jr. sprained his left wrist during Tuesday’s practice, and will miss Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to coach Steve Kerr, Oubre suffered the injury on a dunk attempt with a bad landing. It sounds like it could have been a lot worse.
Kent Bazemore will start in Oubre’s place, and it seems likely that Jordan Poole — who just rejoined the team after a scorching hot stint with the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors — will see some significant minutes off the bench.

There’s never a good time to lose a player to injury, especially since Oubre had a sensational February in which he averaged 20.1 points per game and shot 43.0% from three-point range. With that said, suffering an injury right before the start of the All-Star break is about as good of timing as possible.

The Warriors play again on Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns, a game in which Oubre has not yet been ruled out for. Then they’re off for a week before returning next Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

TJ McConnell tallies triple-double with steals vs. Cavaliers

McConnell was one steal shy of tying the NBA’s single-game record but notched a triple-double that broke the main slate on DraftKings. He tallied 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting to go along with 10 steals and 13 assists. McConnell tallied 66 DKFP and helped power the Pacers to a comeback win. Indiana claimed a 114-111 victory.

Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell is the ultimate glue guy, and he could etch his name in the NBA’s record books on Wednesday in his team’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McConnell is known for making hustle plays, but his spectacular defense is what’s turning heads against Cleveland.

McConnell racked up a ridiculous nine steals in the first half. The record for most steals by a player in an NBA game is 11, and there’s plenty of time for McConnell to catch up. The undersized guard is a perfect 4-for-4 from the field with 8 points and has dished out 6 dimes as well in a well-rounded performance. Despite all his ball-hawking, the Pacers trial 61-51.

The Cavs have been careless with the ball and amassed 17 turnovers in the first half. However, they’re shooting a blistering 59.5% from the field and 46.2% from deep. Four Cavs scored at least 10 points in the first half. Cleveland will have to protect the ball a lot better in the second half to hold onto its lead.