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Ball's big fourth quarter helps Hornets beat Spurs to end six-game losing streak

LaMelo Ball Charlotte Hornets LaMelo Ball - Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — LaMelo Ball scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Charlotte Hornets beat the San Antonio Spurs 124-120 on Friday night to end a six-game losing streak.

San Antonio rookie star Victor Wembanyama sat out for the sixth time this season. The No. 1 overall pick sprained an ankle Dec. 23 at Dallas, and the Spurs have been cautious with him. The reason for his absence was listed as “rest” on the injury report.

“No, it’s not rest, it’s doctor’s orders,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s been working on his body and he has got a minutes restriction and is not allowed to play back-to-backs right now. It will probably change very soon but for now, we have to abide by that restriction.”

No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller added 24 points for Charlotte. Miles Bridges had 23 and P.J. Washington 20. The Hornets are 9-30. They won for the second time in 19 games.

“It’s just good for confidence,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “I’m really proud of them for the way they’ve hung in there. We’ve kept competing and working hard. It’s important to win, you know, just to feel good.”

Reserve Keldon Johnson led San Antonio with 25 points, and Tre Jones scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. The Spurs have lost four straight to fall to 7-34.

After San Antonio took its first leads of the game — at 100-99 and 103-102 — Charlotte responded with 10 straight points for a 112-103 advantage,

San Antonio cut it to 118-117 with 1:23 to play. Ball then scored on a driving reverse layup with 26.4 seconds left, and Miller and Terry Rozier converted two free throws apiece in the final 5.2 seconds.

“We made a lot of good plays there at the end of the game, which is important,” Clifford said.

Added Miller on Ball’s layup that gave Charlotte a 120-117 lead: “That’s just Melo being Melo.”


Spurs: At Washington on Saturday night.

Hornets: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.