Hornets Start Summer League with Last-Second Win Over OKC

Monk Paces Charlotte with Game-High-Tying 23 Points in Las Vegas Victory

By Sam Perley, hornets.com

VIDEO: Hornets Postgame Interviews on Facebook | Hornets Highlights | Malik Monk Highlights

GALLERY: Hornets vs. OKC

The Charlotte Hornets tipped off their MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 schedule with a dramatic victory as a timely defensive stop in the closing seconds helped knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 88-87, on Friday, July 6 in Las Vegas, NV.

Shooting guard Malik Monk led the way for Charlotte with a game-high-tying 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, two assists and two steals. Fifteen of the Kentucky product’s points came in the first quarter alone. 

A back-and-forth affair all afternoon came down to the final few possessions as the Hornets pulled ahead by two following a pair of Devonte’ Graham made free throws with 23.5 seconds left on the clock.

Rashawn Thomas responded by dropping in a reverse layup at the other end for the Thunder, but a Dakari Johnson foul sent Charlotte’s Willy Hernangomez to the line for two go-ahead shots with just three seconds remaining in the game.

The Spaniard split the pair, putting the Hornets up by one and leading to a Thunder timeout. On the ensuing inbounds play, Oklahoma City couldn’t get a shot off as Monk poked the ball away from Johnson’s hands, sealing the Charlotte victory.

“I feel good. First Summer League win. First time playing out here. This is a nice environment. It feels good to get the win,” said Monk following the game.

Hernangomez tallied a double-double with 16 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and two blocks, while Dwayne Bacon racked up 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Graham (10 points) and fellow rookie Arnoldas Kulboka (12 points) also scored in double figures in addition to 2018 first-rounder Miles Bridges, who had six points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

“We weren’t able to get out the way we wanted to, but the second half though, I thought our rookies did a great job of coming out there and doing some nice things for us,” said Hornets Head Summer League Coach Jay Hernandez. “It was a great team effort for everybody involved.”

Thomas (23 points) and Johnson (20 points) both reached the 20-point plateau for Oklahoma City, while P.J. Dozier (12 points) and Daniel Hamilton (11 points) also had double-digit scoring performances. 

The Hornets return to action on Sunday, July 8 as they’ll take on the Miami Heat at 5 p.m. ET on NBATV.