Hornets Head to Chicago Looking for 3rd-Straight Win

by Quinton Wash

The Charlotte Hornets are eyeing a third consecutive victory and aiming to snap a drought at the United Center as they face the Chicago Bulls starting tonight at 8 PM EST.

Largely due to Devonte’ Graham’s career-high 40 points, the Hornets rallied from 20 down to shock the Brooklyn Nets, 113-108, on Wednesday evening. Twenty-seven of Graham’s points came in the second half and although he’ll rightfully garner much of the headlines, Head Coach James Borrego said the victory was just another result of the team’s continuous resiliency.

“I think in general, this group has been resilient one through 15,” Borrego said after the win. “They keep battling. We’ve been down throughout the season and we just keep fighting, keep clawing. We find a rhythm and a rotation out there that works, but you got to give Devonte’ a big piece of that. What he’s doing right now is special, and he deserves a lot of credit.”

This will be the third meeting of the season between the Hornets and Bulls and first one in Chicago. Charlotte won 126-125 on opening night, although the tables were turned with a stunning 116-115 loss on Nov. 23. Bulls G Zach LaVine tallied 49 points and 13 three-pointers in this game, rallying his team from eight points down in the final 45 seconds to win in regulation.

Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak with a 136-102 home win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday evening. LaVine had 35 points on 7-of-7 shooting from three in just 25 minutes, Lauri Markkanen went 8-of-9 from the field for 22 points and Coby White (19) and Thaddeus Young (15) each scored in double figures off the bench for the victors.

The Bulls currently sit 26th in the NBA in offensive rating (104.0), although a sturdy 12th in defensive rating (105.7), while allowing the third-lowest opposing three-point percentage (32.5%). In each of the first two meetings between the Hornets and Bulls, the winning side drained at least 22 shots from distance, so look for another tightly-contested matchup coming down to three-point play.

Game Notes: SF Otto Porter Jr. (left foot fracture) is out for Chicago. PF Cristiano Felicio (right wrist fracture) has yet to play this season and SF Chandler Hutchison has missed seven straight games (right shoulder sprain)… The Hornets have dropped four straight road outings in Chicago (most recent win: Dec. 5, 2015).


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