One of the Charlotte Hornets’ “musts” under coach Steve Clifford is keeping turnovers low.
Not Thursday, not even close. The Hornets had a season-high in giveaways with 22. Seven of those turnovers came in the third quarter, helping the Houston Rockets score 36 points in what ended up a 107-95 Hornets loss at Spectrum Center.
The Hornets fell to 24-29 two nights after breaking a seven-game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets swept the two-game season series with the Hornets, improving to 39-17.
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Rockets superstar James Harden finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Hornets guard Nic Batum totaled 15 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 16-11 at home this season.
Three who mattered
Harden: He was tremendous getting to the foul line.
Ryan Anderson: In his eighth season, he is still one of the NBA’s better stretch power forwards.
Batum: Had his fifth game this season of 10 or more assists.
▪ The Hornets did a video tribute to former Bobcat Gerald Wallace, the last All-Star from Charlotte. Wallace, who lives in Alabama, attended Thursday’s game.
▪ The Hornets got back center Cody Zeller, who had missed the previous seven games with a quad contusion. Zeller was reinserted into the starting lineup but left the game late in the fourth quarter with soreness in his quad.
▪ Point guard Kemba Walker was called for his fifth technical foul of the season after he dribbled out of bounds against the Rockets’ full-court press.
▪ The Rockets played without two of their top reserves, Eric Gordon and Nene.
▪ Walker took his 21st charge of the season, on Houston center Clint Capela, in the second quarter. He’s second in the NBA in charges taken, behind Ersan Ilyasova’s 24.
▪ Saturday’s home game against the Los Angeles Clippers will tip off at 5 p.m., to accommodate European television.
▪ The Hornets had a strong first half offensively, generating 54 points off 51 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.
▪ The Hornets will honor Walker for his first All-Star selection at Saturday’s game.
C OFFENSE: As well as they shot in the first half, the turnovers negated the good work
D DEFENSE: They gave up 36 third-quarter points, as the Rockets made 58 percent of their shots.
C COACHING: They are now 1-1 halfway through a four-game home stand.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell