Terry Rozier made 2 totally free tosses with 5.3 seconds left as the Charlotte Hornets held on for a striking 106-104 triumph over the Brooklyn Webs at Spectrum Center on Sunday night.

Gordon Hayward, the Hornets’ major free-agent acquisition, finished with 28 points, seven assists and 6 rebounds. The Webs got 29 points from Kevin Durant, but the super star forward missed a corner jump shot in the final minute on a crucial Brooklyn possession. Charlotte center Bismack Biyombo disrupted Durant’s shot.

The Hornets entered this game 0-2, with rebounding a big underlying cause. On Sunday, the Hornets remained even with the Webs on the boards, in spite of being shorthanded at center. Biyombo, who took control of as starter with Cody Zeller (broken hand) out, had a terrific game with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and six rebounds.

The Webs controlled in their very first two games, blowing out the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics.

Rozier ended up with 19 points and P.J. Washington totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds.

4 observations from the victory:

Rozier has actually been the Hornets’ best player so far this season, and it’s not especially close. He is pressing the ball to the rim and made some substantial pressure shots in bringing Charlotte back to make the season opener in Cleveland close.

Rozier lost about 15 pounds in the long pandemic-induced layoff. He appeared for training school in outstanding shape, and that wasn’t the case for a broad spectrum of players, in Charlotte or the NBA at-large. Rozier has been such a pro in his time up until now in Charlotte, and he’s seemed more of a leader-mentor on a young group this season.

The Hornets were terrible in their very first 2 video games on the boards, with an average rebounding deficit of 12.5. They handled to outrebound the Internet 52-46.

The Hornets were last in the NBA last season in defensive-rebounding ownership, and that seemed to be an apparent location to resolve with the available wage cap area. However, the opportunity to get small forward Gordon Hayward took precedence. Improving rebounding need to now be internal and collective.

Although the Hornets clearly expect Hayward to be one of, if not the, leading scorer this season, his offending game is more decision-maker flexible than just get baskets. At halftime, Hayward had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but he also had three assists and three rebounds. He was a big part, as both a passer and a shooter, of the Hornets scoring 30 points in the lane in the very first half.

As the core players on this team discover to mix much better, Hayward might be the ballhandler as much as any Hornet, getting the ball to guard Devonte Graham and Rozier in optimal scoring position.

Depth looked much enhanced in the preseason, due to a big degree to the additions of Hayward and novice LaMelo Ball. To name a few things, that enables Miles Bridges to become this team’s 6th guy.

While coach James Borrego is playing 10 deep in his rotation right now, the reserves sure couldn’t assist at the offending end in the very first half. It took 17 minutes for any bench player to rating. That finally occurred when Ball struck a 3-pointer– one of only three for Charlotte in the first half– midway through the second quarter.