Pelicans, Davis Too Much for Charlotte as Homestand Wraps

New Orleans All-Star Drops 36, Kaminsky Has Season-High 19

By Matt Rochinski

Charlotte knew it would have its hands full with New Orleans big man Anthony Davis as they looked to close out their four-game homestand with a win against the Pelicans. Despite having seven different players score in double-figures, led by a season-high 19 points off the bench from Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte was unable to keep the Pelicans five-time All-Star in check as he nearly recorded a triple-double with 36 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high eight assists in a 119-109 New Orleans victory at Spectrum Center.

With no Cody Zeller (rib contusion) to start the game, and having lost Kemba Walker for some time in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain and Marvin Williams for the game to a right shoulder strain in the second quarter, the Hornets struggled to match up with Davis for most of the game.

After seeing Davis score 17 points in the first quarter but still holding a 30-29 first-quarter lead, the Hornets saw Davis change up his game in the second frame. He was held just three points in the quarter on 1-of-3 shooting from the field but got his teammates involved, dishing out five assists as the Pelicans took control of the game.

New Orleans broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring Charlotte, 36-26, behind 61.9 percent (13-of-21) shooting from the field, including 42.9 percent (3-of-7) from long range, and 87.5 percent (7-of-8) shooting from the charity stripe. In comparison, the Hornets shot 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from the field, 20.0 percent (1-of-5) from long range and 50.0 percent (3-of-6) from the free-throw line.

The Pelicans stayed hot to start the third, building their lead to 79-63 at the 4:36 mark and the Hornets would not be able to get any closer than seven points the remainder of the contest.

“I think we’ve just got to play better basketball,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “East, West, it doesn’t matter we’ve just got to play better basketball. The injuries have been tough. Obviously Cody [Zeller] has been a major factor for us this season. With him out of the lineup it’s been a challenge for us. On both ends of the floor, not just on one end. He created a lot of offense for us the last couple of games before he got injured. The way teams are playing us we have to play through the five some. And Cody has been a major factor for us. And then obviously losing Kemba [Walker] early that was a disruption, that threw off our rotations. And then losing Marvin [Williams] was a major factor. At the end of the day we’ve got to play better basketball. East, West, it doesn’t matter. Got to heal up, get right and get back at it on Wednesday.”

Kemba Walker tied Muggsy Bogues for the All-Time leader in career starts (501) and led Charlotte’s starters with 13 points, while Jeremy Lamb (11 points) also was among three starters scoring in double digits. Willy Hernangomez also scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his first start of the season.

Kaminsky led Charlotte’s reserves, followed by Miles Bridges (career-high 16 points), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10) and Tony Parker (10). Parker also added five assists, bringing his career total to 6,919 and moving him into 18th place on the NBA’s all-time leaderboard. Rookie Devonte’ Graham also scored a career-high eight points in 17 minutes off the bench.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t compete harder. I think we could have competed harder,” said Borrego. “Even through all of the uncertainty tonight, the disruptions out there we could have competed harder tonight. But we’ve got to get ourselves right, physically, mentally, and this is an unforgiving league. There’s nobody feeling sorry for us right now, injuries. Other teams are dealing with injuries too. We’ve just go to work our way through it, keep our heads up, stay positive. We’re not dying on this thing. This is one game.”

The Hornets now get a two-day break before heading to Minnesota for an 8 p.m. tip on Wednesday against the Timberwolves.