Mark Williams made NBA history in the process of recording his first-career double-double and LaMelo Ball flirted with a triple-double as the Charlotte Hornets topped the Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-113.
Ball led Charlotte (10-26) with 27 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and five three-pointers made. PJ Washington put up 25 points, five rebounds and three assists with a pair of blocks and shot 10-13 from the floor. Gordon Hayward notched 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Williams had 17 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting, 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 21 minutes for his first-career double-double. He became the first rookie in NBA history and only the fifth player overall to record such a stat line with while shooting 100 percent from the field, per Stathead and Hornets.com’s Sam Perley.
Mark Williams appears to be the first rookie in NBA history to tally 15+ PTS, 10+ REB, 2+ AST, 2+ STL and 2+ BLK in a game on 100% shooting— Sam Perley (@sam_perley) December 30, 2022
Fifth player in NBA history overall to do so, per @Stathead, joining Robert Williams III, Draymond Green, Lamar Odom and Bobby Jones
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 28 points to go with five assists for Oklahoma City (15-20). Lu Dort had 22 points, Josh Giddey added 21 and 10 assists and Tre Mann scored 17 points.
The Hornets came out of the gates hot tonight, scoring the first seven points of the game and finishing the first quarter shooting 72.7 percent (16-22) from the field as a team, the highest mark in any quarter this season. It didn’t take long for OKC to heat up either, though; a high-scoring opening frame ended with the Hornets in front, 36-30.
#Hornets scored 28 points in the paint (making all 14 attempts) in the first quarter. That's a new record for most points in the paint in a quarter this season for them.— Rod Boone (@rodboone) December 30, 2022
Late in the first and early into the second quarter, the Mark Williams Show began. He and Hayward connected for a lob in the final minute of the first and then he tallied two offensive boards, a block and a steal before checking out. The rookie big has shown impressive fluidity in pick-and-roll setting offensively and defensively, has great hands and utilizes his size and strength well. Charlotte led for the entire first half until Mike Muscala hit a last-second corner three to send them into the locker room trailing 60-57.
Kelly Oubre Jr. aggravated his hand sprain in the first half and was unable to finish out the game. Ball and Washington powered the Hornets offense for the remainder of the night, helping push them out to a slight lead by the midpoint of the third quarter. Neither team was able to get ahead or separate by much, and after a somewhat sloppy end to the third the Hornets led, 85-84.
The game was tied, 103-103 with 4:24 remaining before the Hornets put the pedal to the metal. Charlotte outscored the Thunder 18-10 down the stretch and though OKC was able to get within four in the final minutes, Ball came through with a 30-footer to ice it.
There were quite a few notable stats to arise from tonight’s game, most notably Williams making NBA history. One can quibble over the hyper-specificity of the stat line he posted, but if it were easy, someone else would’ve done it by now. Ten straight 20 pieces from Melo during an injury-riddled season is no walk in the park, either.