Hornets Close 2021 NBA Summer League Play with Loss to Chicago

Second-Rounders Thor, Lewis Impress; Bulls Take Control with Game-Swinging 37-10 Stretch
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Action Gallery

Down three key contributors, the Charlotte Hornets couldn’t overcome a huge mid-game Chicago run and dropped their Summer League finale, 99-74, on Monday night at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Forward Kai Jones finished just shy of his second double-double in Summer League, racking up a team-high 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, nine rebounds (four offensive) and a block in 29 minutes. Fellow rookie JT Thor also saved his best Vegas showing for last, racking up 15 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks across 21 minutes off the bench.

Charlotte trailed by just five with 1:32 remaining in the first half before Chicago rolled off a 12-0 run to take a 45-28 lead into halftime. The Bulls then opened the third with a 25-10 stretch to take a sizeable 32-point advantage, giving themselves plenty of runaway to easily close out their second win in Summer League.

“I thought there were a lot of positive steps,” stated Head Coach Dutch Gaitley. “As the games went on, we were top-5 in assists. Obviously, we were first in turnovers. As Summer League went on, our defense got decimated. It killed us today. Obviously, we’re frustrated. We’re competitive guys and we want to win. There were a lot of good things today that we were able to see, like putting these guys in different spots than where they were one-to-two weeks ago.”

Scottie Lewis recorded a team-high-tying 16 points, four assists and three blocks for Charlotte, with Arnoldas Kulboka chipping in another nine points and two steals. Guards James Bouknight (right foot) and Grant Riller (right shoulder) and then center Vernon Carey Jr. (right calf) were all unavailable for the team, which finished Summer League 0-5, due to injuries.

Chicago’s entire starting lineup of Ayo Dosunmu (19 points), Jerome Robinson (13), Tyler Bey (13), Jaylen Adams (13) and Marko Simonović (10) all scored in double figures. The Bulls, who were without NBA All-Rookie Second-Teamer Patrick Williams, also got nine-point showings off the bench from both Ethan Thompson and Simisola Shittu.

The Hornets cleaned up the turnovers a touch relatively speaking, committing just 18 giveaways leading to 30 Chicago points. Three-point shooting was also a struggle for the purple and teal as the squad connected on just 4-of-25 attempts from outside the arc (16%).

With Summer League now all wrapped up, Charlotte will be back in action come Monday, October 4 for its preseason opener on the road in Oklahoma City starting at 8 PM EDT.

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