The Charlotte Hornets tied a franchise record with 23 made 3-pointers, led by Kelly Oubre with seven 3-pointers as part of his 27 points, as they notched a commanding win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 133-118.
The teams played an even, back-and-forth first quarter. The Hornets moved the ball extremely well and got themselves going early on. LaMelo Ball didn’t score in the quarter, but he did drop six assists. Kelly Oubre splashed a triple in the final seconds to put the Hornets up 30-28 after one, and that would prove to be a sign of things to come.
Oubre and Jalen McDaniels each got hot in the second quarter as the Hornets started to create a little separation. Each made three 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes of the game as the Hornets got up double figures. The Wolves went on a quick 6-0 run, but the Hornets quickly erased that with some very strong play in transition. The Wolves once again pulled within eight and got out on the break to try to pull within six, but a Gordon Hayward block and LaMelo Ball wizardry swung the momentum the other way.
The Hornets led 68-58 at the break. They had assisted on 18 made shots and made 11 3-pointers to that point.
The Hornets started the second half sluggishly, but Terry Rozier found Gordon Hayward for an alley-oop dunk to wake the Hornets up. Hayward returned the favor on the next possession by finding Rozier in the corner for a three. Miles Bridges got going during the middle stages of the quarter to counter a Karl-Anthony Towns takeover on the other end. Kelly Oubre reentered the game around the four minute mark of the third and the Wolves seemingly forgot what he did in the first half. He hit three 3-pointers within two minutes of checking in, two of which were completely uncontested. The Timberwolves called a timeout, probably to go over not letting Oubre shoot wide open 3-pointers. They succeeded at that for exactly one possession, in which they gave up an open layup to Ball. Then the next possession they lost Oubre in the corner again, and he knocked down his seventh three of the night. It gave the Hornets a 99-83 lead after three.
A quick 8-3 spurt in favor of the Hornets to start the fourth quarter put them up by 21 and in firm control of the game. PJ Washington took advantage of the low stakes minutes in the fourth quarter. He hit four 3-pointers in a six minute stretch as the Hornets built a lead as large as 24. A packed Spectrum Center started up a wave as the Hornets cruised through the final few minutes of the game. Rookies James Bouknight and Kai Jones each opened up their ledger with their first career NBA points in that garbage time.
Oubre’s 27 led six Hornets in double figures. LaMelo Ball chipped in 13 assists to go with his 10 points. The Hornets as a team assisted on 32 of their 49 made baskets. It was probably their best all around game of the season. Obviously the offense was clicking, but the defense was good for the most part as well outside of the defensive glass. The Wolves are the best offensive rebounding team in the league, so you’ll live with that.
The commanding fourth quarter lead meant that every Hornet played fewer than 30 minutes. They should be pretty well rested as they travel to Houston to take on the Rockets on Saturday night.