Graham aims to extend hot streak as Hornets host Nets

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The Charlotte Hornets know what tends to push them in the right direction. Now they have to figure out how to repeat those good stretches.

More big games from guard Devonte’ Graham could help the cause for the Hornets, who take on the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.

Graham had 33 points, matching a franchise record with a career-high 10 baskets from 3-point range, in a 106-91 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. His former teammate Kemba Walker set the record.

“It’s great to be in that category,” Graham said. “I’ve always had confidence in myself. It keeps growing when I have games like this.”

Graham has been the team’s leading scorer (18.7 points per game) and has developed the knack for big contributions.

“When we win, he’s usually aggressive,” teammate P.J. Washington said of Graham.

The Hornets are working to make Graham a continued factor in what they do at the offensive end.

“It’s tough to make 10 3s in an NBA game no matter who you are,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “He knows he has got the green light. We want him shooting the ball. … The confidence he has, he always had that.”

The backcourt combination of Graham and Terry Rozier is starting to round into form. Rozier had 25 points against Golden State, marking the first time he and Graham reached the 20-point level in the same game since Graham joined the starting lineup.

“It’s fun to play like that, just two guys out there being aggressive,” Graham said. “I think we feed off each other pretty well. Especially in transition, I think we find each other pretty well. It’s fun to play like that.”

It has taken time for Graham and Rozier to get in a good flow when they’re on the court together.

“I like the rhythm that we see with the two of them,” Borrego said.

The Hornets need to get a good thing going again. They’ve won only three of their last 10 games.

Brooklyn moved back above .500 at 11-10 with Wednesday night’s 130-118 outcome in Atlanta. That came with a season-high 27 points from Garrett Temple, who made six 3-point baskets.

“It’s going to take a while to mesh together with so many new guys,” Temple said. “We’re doing a good job out there and guys are buying in.”

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has pointed to rebounding as an area that can make a difference for his team.

“I think that has been a sticking point for us,” Atkinson said. “We’ve talked a lot about rebounding … how much that has hurt us.”

Temple said the Nets have concentrated defensively on 3-point defense. That could come in handy after Charlotte’s big perimeter output this week.

The Nets topped the Hornets 101-91 on Nov. 20 at home, largely behind Jarrett Allen’s 22 points and 17 rebounds.

The Hornets have been stressing defense as well. Charlotte had a better beginning to the game against Golden State after Borrego was critical of the team’s recent approach. The biggest upgrade might have come when the Hornets didn’t have the ball.

“We did just a great job on defense,” Washington said.

–Field Level Media

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