CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Eric Gordon had 24 points and seven assists, helping the New Orleans Hornets overcome a 21-point first-half deficit and extend the Charlotte Bobcats’ losing streak to 18 games with a 98-95 victory Saturday night.
The Bobcats are one game away from a winless December. They haven’t won since Nov. 24.
Gordon, who hadn’t played since April 22 following arthroscopic right knee surgery, was 5 of 13 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free throw line in 24 minutes.
Ryan Anderson had 19 points and made a pair of 3-pointers in the final period as the Hornets won for the second time in three games.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 22 points and nine rebounds and Gerald Henderson added 19 points for the Bobcats.
After a New Orleans turnover on a long inbounds pass with 11 seconds left, Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions had a chance to send the game into overtime, but missed open 3-pointers in the final seconds.
Kidd Gilchrist outplayed former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis in the first half, scoring 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting.
But the No. 2 overall pick left the game near the end of the first half after getting kicked in the eye. He returned in the third quarter wearing protective goggles, but wasn’t the same. He had only four points in limited action in the second half.
It was Eric Gordon’s first game of the season and he played well after a rusty start that included an early turnover on an errant pass.
He had missed the entire season with a sore right knee and had only played in nine games for the Hornets because of the knee injury after being acquired by New Orleans last December in a trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.
He had 14 points in the second half.
The Bobcats came in having lost 17 straight games; the Hornets had lost 12 of their past 13.
The Bobcats led by as many as 21 in the second quarter but the Hornets stormed back to the tie the game entering the final period behind nine third-quarter points from Greivis Vasquez and seven from Gordon.
New Orleans was tied several times in the second half but finally took the lead with 5:47 left when Ryan Anderson knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Hornets the lead for good. Gordon followed with another 3-pointer on the next possession.
Anderson and Roger Mason added 3-pointers in the closing minutes to stretch the Hornets’ lead to 95-86.
It was a dramatic shift of momentum after the Bobcats dominated the first half.
Charlotte shot 64 percent from the field in the first half and bolted to a 57-40 lead at the break, outscoring the Hornets 21-0 on fast breaks and 38-16 in the paint.
NOTE: Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap picked up his first technical foul of the season for arguing a call during the third quarter.
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