The Bulls started out hot from the field, connecting on six of their first nine field goal attempts. The Hornets were unfazed and went on a 7-0 spurt to force a Bulls timeout. The teams played to a standstill the rest of the way. After one quarter of play, the Hornets led 27-26.
The second quarter was Bobby Portis’s time. He scored 10 points in the first 3:13 of the second quarter, giving him 16 total in his first eight minutes of play. He didn’t stop there. He finished the half with 28 points (22 in the second quarter) on 12/16 shooting in just 17 minutes of action. Meanwhile the Hornets went cold on the offensive end. The Bulls led by as many as 15 points, but a 6-0 Hornets run as the quarter closed cut the Bulls lead to 60-51 heading into the half.
The Hornets got cooking a little bit in the third quarter. They made four 3-pointers from the left corner in the first half of the period. After much resistance, the Hornets finally tied the game with 2:37 left after a personal 6-0 run by Kemba Walker. They took the lead with 1:02 remaining thanks to a nifty Miles Bridges floater. A trio of Malik Monk free throws put the Hornets up 88-86 heading into the fourth quarter.
Malik Monk scored the first seven points for the Hornets in the fourth quarter, but the Bulls had answers in the form of Shaquille Harrison and Bobby Portis. Kemba took his turn and scored nine straight points for the Hornets to put them up six with six minutes to go. The Bulls called timeout, but the Hornets didn’t care. Monk made a driving layup then Miles Bridges found Nicolas Batum in the corner for a three that put the Hornets up 11 and forced another Bulls timeout. The Hornets scored a couple more buckets out of that timeout. It all amounted to a 15-0 Hornets run. The Bulls made a bit of a push, but they were never able to pose a serious threat down the stretch.
The Hornets made 11 3-pointers in the second half as part of their offensive explosion that resulted in 74 second half points. Malik Monk had another huge fourth quarter and Miles Bridges made several impact plays. James Borrego has played the pair of 20-year-olds deep into the fourth quarter a couple times in a row now, and they’ve responded well.
Miles Bridges, Marvin Williams, and Nicolas Batum each had 13 points to complement Kemba’s 37 and Monk’s 18. Bobby Portis only scored five points in the second half. The Hornets devoted special attention to him after the break, and his teammates weren’t able to capitalize. The Hornets just played good all around basketball in the second half.
Up next for the Hornets is a visit from the Los Angeles Clippers