Hornets Fall to Visiting Bulls After Long Layoff

Hayward Goes For 34 PTS, Charlotte Posts Sloppy Performance in Return to Court
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Action Gallery | Pregame Fashion Gallery | Coach Borrego Interview | Devonte' Graham Interview | Gordon Hayward Interview

Turnovers and defensive rebounding issues reared their ugly heads in the Charlotte Hornets’ direction on Friday night as the Chicago Bulls exited Spectrum Center with a 123-110 road win, marking the team’s third consecutive victory.

Gordon Hayward has another strong outing for the Hornets, finishing with 34 points on 12-of-20 shooting, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in the loss. This is Hayward’s third 30-point game of the campaign already, surpassing his total from all of last season (52 appearances).

Ahead by one after the opening 12 minutes, Chicago cruised into halftime with a 61-53 advantage after outscoring the Hornets by eight in the second quarter. Fifteen of the Bulls points in the frame came off 10 Charlotte turnovers as the lead hovered around double digits for most of the second half. The hosts got within six numerous times down the stretch in the fourth, but never got over the hump to retake the lead.

“They kicked our tail tonight in every facet of the game,” said Coach Borrego afterwards. “It was the offense, it was the defense, it was every area, so give them credit. Really early on, it was just poor offense leading to easy stuff. That’s really what kick-started it. What really turned the game and gave them some energy was our poor offense, our turnovers leading to their easy dunks, layups, transition. We just could not get control of this game for the most part tonight.”

Devonte’ Graham finished with a season-high 24 points (22 in the first half) on 9-of-18 shooting, three rebounds and six assists for Charlotte. PJ Washington (16 points) scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game, Terry Rozier added 10 points and Bismack Biyombo chipped in six points, a game-high 10 rebounds and two assists.

The Bulls got 20-point showings from both Zach LaVine (25) and Lauri Markkanen (23) in the win, with the former also dishing out a game-high nine assists. Coby White notched 18 points and eight assists and Garrett Temple (15) and Otto Porter Jr. (13) each crossed the 10-point threshold off the bench.

Charlotte finished the evening with a back-breaking 20 turnovers leading to 26 points for Chicago. The Bulls also outscored the Hornets in the paint (64-52), off the bench (46-20) and in second-chance points (18-6), while also holding Charlotte to just 2-of-11 shooting coming off offensive rebounds.

The Hornets will now head south for a pair of back-to-back road games against the Magic, the first of which is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 24 starting at 7 PM EST in Orlando, FL. Catch all the action on Fox Sports Southeast, the Fox Sports GO app and WFNZ 610 AM or 102.5 FM.

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