The game started exactly how you’d expect a game between two fast paced teams that play poor teams to start. James Borrego called a timeout exactly four minutes into the game. At that point, the score was already 16-15 (a 192-180 full game pace). The pace only let up a little bit from there. The Hornets led 37-36 after a frenetic first quarter and were led by none other than Cody Martin in scoring, who had 11 points in the opening frame.
Arnoldas Kulboka made his NBA debut to start the second quarter. The Kings meanwhile started the quarter on a 15-4 run. The Hornets would use the rest of the quarter to dig themselves out of that hole. Kelly Oubre and Gordon Hayward did most of the scoring during the comeback with the occasional contributions from Miles Bridges. The Hornets briefly took the lead with a Cody Martin steal and score, but they ultimately went into the half trailing 71-69.
The Kings went on a 12-0 run really early in the second quarter, after which James Borrego took a timeout and gave the hook to Vernon Carey Jr. in favor of JT Thor. The move stopped the bleeding, but it didn’t help the Hornets gain back the ground they lost in the short term. In the longer term, James Bouknight checked in and scored eight straight points to pull the Hornets back within three. Miles Bridges drove the lane for a couple of crafty layups in the final minute of the game to pull the Hornets within one heading into the final quarter.
Bouknight kept the good times rolling with a step back three on the first possession of the fourth quarter to give him 21 points for the game. Bridges scored five points to bridge the gap to another Bouknight three.
A few bad Hornets possessions let the Kings hang around, setting up a barnburner finish. De’Aaron Fox gave the Kings the lead with a long jumper that bounced around on the rim before falling in, but it was answered by a heavily contested Cody Martin three on a Hornets possession that looked destined for disaster.
The Kings tied it with a pair of free throws with 20 seconds to play. Martin looked to have hit a dagger 3-point play with five seconds to go, but a coach’s challenge found that he somehow landed just before releasing the ball. He instead got two free throws and only made one. He apparently thought the Hornets had a foul to give going the other way, so he took a foul at half court with just two seconds to play. Fox missed both free throws and the Kings desperate attempts at a put back went begging.
Bouknight hit six 3-pointers as part of his 24 point outburst. Bridges approached triple double numbers with 23 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Oubre chipped in 22 and only took like one ill advised shot.
It was a huge win for the Hornets who now head out west for a six game road trip.