Cody Martin rebounded from his poor start to the Summer League with a strong opening few minutes. He hit a couple of tough layups in transition, including one directly off a steal on the defensive end of the floor. His run was followed by six straight points from Miles Bridges. Arnoldas Kulboka turned some heads at the end of the period, coming out of nowhere to swat what looked like a sure layup off the backboard, then throwing a no look dime to Isaiah Hicks out of the pick and roll. That bucket gave the Hornets an 18-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
Chandler Hutchison led the Bulls early in the second as the teams went back and forth for a lot of the second quarter. That changed with an 8-1 run capped off by a confident Cody Martin catch and shoot 3-pointer. The Hornets second round pick came back and hit another jumper a couple minutes later, this time off the dribble. It was answered by a pair of Coby White free throws, which set the halftime score at 37-30 in favor of the Hornets. Martin finished the half with nine points and three steals, a welcome improvement from his previously poor form.
The Hornets struggled to contain Daniel Gafford early in the seond half, but his offensive output was matched by the Hornets’ NBA guys. Devonte’ Graham hit a couple tough 3-pointers late in the third to put the Hornets up double figures. After three, the Hornets led 59-50.
The Hornets lead slowly dwindled over the course of the fourth quarter. Dwayne Bacon had a couple of nice buckets but also had a couple hero moments. The Hornets lead was cut down to one with under three minutes to go, and was eventually lost on a pair of Bulls free throws. Devonte’ Graham got the lead back with a short jump shot. The Hornets forced a couple of turnovers to keep the Bulls at bay, but a missed jumper by Bridges and a turnover by Graham kept the Hornets from putting the game out of reach. The Bulls made the Hornets pay, as they gobbled up an offensive rebound to go up one. Dwayne Bacon missed a tough runner on the ensuing possession, which the Bulls rebounded. After a pair of free throws, Miles Bridges last second 3-point attempt rattled in and out.
The Hornets were outscored 25-13 in the fourth quarter after leading for almost the entire game.
Bacon and Bridges struggled, combining to hit just seven of their 23 field goal attempts and none of their seven 3-point attempts while turning the ball over seven times.
Devonte’ Graham had another strong perimeter shooting game, knocking down four 3-pointers. Cody Martin also had a strong two-way performance, which was much needed.
The Hornets still have one more consolation game left, but we don’t know when that’ll be yet.