CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green each had 26 points and the Houston Rockets beat the Charlotte Hornets 112-109 on Friday night.
Kenyon Martin Jr. added 14 points, Alperen Sengun had 14 points and 21 rebounds and Jabari Smith Jr. scored 13 points. The Rockets won consecutive games for the fifth time this season, improving to 21-50.
The Hornets (26-55) played its home finale without injured starters LaMelo Ball (right ankle surgery), Gordon Hayward (left thumb sprain), Terry Rozier (right foot injury), P.J. Washington (right foot sprain) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (left shoulder sprain) and top reserve Dennis Smith (right toe sprain).
Svi Mykhailiuk led Charlotte with 25 points, Theo Maledon had 22 and Bryce McGowens 16.
Houston trailed 26-25 after the first quarter but took the lead for good in the middle of the second quarter and led 55-49 at the break, 85-73 after three quarter and by 14 points early in the fourth quarter before Charlotte pulled within three.
The Rockets scored the next six points to play to push it to 108-99 before Charlotte surged again. Charlotte twice had a chance to tie on Mykhailiuk’s 3-point tries in the final 13.1 seconds. But his first attempt was well-defended by Smith and came up short. And his second, after Martin missed two free throws, was off to the left at the buzzer.
Rockets: Rookie Tari Eason is one game away from becoming the first rookie to play an entire 82-game season since 2018-19. Eason, a rookie out of LSU, also is close to becoming the third player in NBA history to have 190 or more offensive rebounds and 90 or more steals while playing fewer than 1,800 minutes in a season.
Hornets: Charlotte has lost 258 player games this season due to injury or illness.
Rockets: At Washington on Sunday.
Hornets: At Cleveland on Sunday.