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Recap: Hornets dominant in second straight night as they beat the Bulls, 133-117

The Hornets have a ton of momentum heading into the final game of the season.

Charlotte Hornets v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

LaMelo Ball scored all 24 of his points in the first half as the Charlotte Hornets built a commanding lead that they would never relinquish as they beat the Chicago Bulls, 133-117.

The Hornets started the game as well as a team can start a basketball game. They forced a Bulls timeout just over a minute and a half into the game after forcing two turnovers and making three straight shots to start the game. LaMelo Ball hit three straight 3-pointers after a couple of baskets inside to help build an early Hornets lead. He would have hit a fourth straight, but his heel tapped the sideline as he gathered a slightly errant pass. The Hornets as a team made their first eleven shots (with two free throws as well) and didn’t miss a shot until 28 points and seven minutes and 20 seconds into the game (it was an airballed 3-pointer by Terry Rozier for those wondering). The Hornets ended up with 39 points and a nine point lead after one.

The good times carried into the second quarter. Jalen McDaniels scored five more points before LaMelo Ball hit two more 3-pointers from the wing. The Hornets got a few strong interior finishes and wide open 3-pointers to build from there, and the Bulls were forced to take a timeout after an uncontested McDaniels dunk put the Hornets up 67-39 with 3:56 to play in the second quarter.

The teams traded baskets into the half, and the Hornets went into a break with a 79-51 lead. They shot 65.9% from the floor while making 11-of-21 3-pointers. Ball finished the half with 24 points and six assists with five 3-pointers made.

The Hornets kept their foot on the gas out of the halftime break. They quickly pushed their lead out to 37 points three minutes into the second half to bring out the boo birds in Chicago. Both teams hit a bit of lull before the Bulls went on a small run the trimmed the Hornets lead from near 40 points to right around 30. Montrezl Harrell finally missed a shot after hitting eleven straight across two games, but he quickly atoned for that. A side step Cody Martin three put the Hornets up 31, and a Coby White three at the buzzer cut the lead back down to 28, just like it did at the end of the third.

The Bulls scored five straight to start the fourth before a weird standstill 3-pointer and then another off a dribble from Kelly Oubre got the Hornets rolling. Some back and forth and depreciating energy levels from both teams signaled that the game was decided pretty early in the fourth quarter. The Bulls took a timeout with 5:32 to play and the Hornets up 27, and both teams started emptying the deep benches at that point. The Bulls made an irrelevant run with the benches in to make the score look closer than it was.

Ball barely missed yet another double dobule. Miles Bridges guaranteed himself a 20 point per game season. The Hornets clinched their first winning record since 2015-2016.

The Nets beat the Cavs on the night, moving those two teams into a tie for seventh. The Hawks lost to the Heat, leaving them tied with the Hornets for the nine seed and one game behind the Cavs and Nets.