Eric Gordon provided the Hornets with the spark they needed, pouring in 24 points in 25 minutes in his return to the court as New Orleans rallied for a 98-95 victory over the reeling Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Gordon, who had sat out this season's first 29 games while recovering from right knee surgery, added seven assists and helped the Hornets overcome a deficit that was as much as 21 points late in the first half. Twelve of his points came in the fourth quarter, during which New Orleans used a 22-7 run to take the lead for good.
"It was good to get a win here for us and for me to get back out there," Gordon remarked. "I just wanted to be back out there with the guys."
Ryan Anderson contributed 19 points off the bench for New Orleans, which has now won two of its last three outings following an 11-game losing streak, while Greivis Vasquez finished with 16 points and eight assists in the win.
The Hornets outscored Charlotte by a 58-38 margin in the second half to deal the lowly Bobcats their 18th consecutive defeat.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist paced the Bobcats with 22 points, but only four came after halftime. Charlotte made just 14-of-39 field goal attempts over the final two quarters after shooting a scorching 62.5 percent in the first half.
Charlotte also received 19 points from Gerald Henderson and a 12-point, 10- rebound effort from Hakim Warrick in a losing cause.
"You just have to keep fighting," Warrick said of the losing streak. "You can't feel sorry for yourself because the next team is definitely not going to feel sorry for you."
The Bobcats appeared on their way towards ending their epic skid after taking a 57-40 lead into the half, but New Orleans got right back into it by beginning the third quarter with a 22-6 run highlighted by a trio of 3- pointers from Roger Mason Jr., the last of which pulled the Hornets within 63-62 with under four minutes left in the period.
Mason later fed Anthony Davis for a dunk that tied the contest at 65-65, and it remained deadlocked entering the fourth quarter after Vasquez drained a triple with 45 seconds to go to knot the score at 73-73.
Charlotte regained the upper hand during the early stages of the final frame, with Ben Gordon scoring the first six points of the stanza. However, New Orleans would dominate the action over the last nine minutes.
An Anderson 3-pointer with 5:47 to go put the Hornets on top by an 82-81 count, and Eric Gordon buried a long-distance basket following a Charlotte turnover to extend the differential to four.
Henderson knocked down a jumper with 2:47 left to cut the lead to 87-86, but Vasquez scored on the other end and Anderson and Mason delivered consecutive treys to give the Hornets a 95-86 advantage with under a minute to play.
The Bobcats would make one last surge, with Warrick scoring with 12.9 seconds on the clock to make the score 98-95. Davis then threw the ball away on the ensuing possession, giving Charlotte the opportunity to force overtime.
Ben Gordon misfired on a 3-point try with five seconds left, but Henderson tapped the rebound to Ramon Sessions, who also failed to convert as time expired.
Charlotte was up 25-22 after one quarter and started the second with a 10-0 flurry to go in front by double digits, and the margin swelled to 21 points after two straight Kidd-Gilchrist buckets capped an 11-2 burst that gave the Bobcats a seemingly comfortable 54-33 lead.
Charlotte has also dropped 10 consecutive home games since a 98-97 decision over Toronto on Nov. 21 ... The Hornets went 11-of-24 from 3-point range, with Mason hitting 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc en route to 13 points ... The Hornets have now won five of the last six meetings in the series and improved to 9-3 against Charlotte since the start of the 2007-08 campaign ... Bobcats forward Byron Mullens missed a third straight game due to a sprained left ankle.