Kemba Walker scored 26 and hit five more 3-pointers; Nicolas Batum tallied 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists; rookie Miles Bridges finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds; and the Hornets earned head coach James Borrego his first career win with a 120-88 drubbing of the Orlando Magic.
The game could not have started more differently than the Hornets season opener. Both teams clanged seemingly dozens of shots. Head coach James Borrego took a timeout about halfway through the opening period, and it seemed to do the trick. The Hornets turned a 4-0 deficit into a 16-4 lead with four minutes to go in the quarter, prompting a Steve Clifford timeout. Even with the Hornets struggling to just 22 points in the opening frame, they held a 12 point lead at the break.
Nicolas Batum shouldered the scoring load for the Hornets in the early going, connecting on his first four attempts from the field. Just 20 minutes into the game, the Frenchman had a running stat line of 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Kemba started to heat up later in the half, and the Hornets were able to build their lead out to 20 with about three minutes to go in the half. That margin held, and the Hornets took a 51-31 lead into the intermission.
The third quarter started with Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker dueling 3-pointers. A TV timeout again energized the Bugs, with Cody Zeller throwing down a monstrous jam followed by a Batum steal and score and Walker 3-pointer.
The Hornets built the lead all the way up to 30 points with two minutes to play in the third. Willy Hernangomez barely missed out on a buzzer beater to maintain that 30 point margin at the end of the third quarter. In the end, the Hornets still took an 82-54 lead into the 4th quarter.
Miles Bridges hit his first career field goal early in the 4th quarter with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Hornets were able to go to the deep bench with ten minutes to go in the game and the Hornets nursing a 92-59 lead. Bridges added to his tally with a couple dunks and another couple 3-pointers. Malik Monk found Bismack Biyobmo on a pick and roll alley oop. Miles Bridges did this madness for his third dunk of the night:
Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe traded buckets to set the margin at 120-88, which would end up the final score.
The Hornets will be in Miami Saturday night to take on the Heat.