Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Thursday’s home game vs. Chicago Bulls

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Thursday’s 120-99 Hornets’ home loss to the Chicago Bulls that dropped Charlotte to 32-34 overall:

… The Bulls may be 27-39 and likely out of postseason play but they have dominated the Hornets in all three matchups, leading wire-to-wire in two of their three wins and for all but 10 minutes of the first meeting. “They just punked us from the get-go in every game,” Charlotte guard Malik Monk said. “We just can’t do nothing with them.”

… Chicago’s matchup advantage, according to Hornets coach James Borrego, stems from size and physicality. “For whatever reason, the matchup does not fit our group,” Borrego said. “They’re physicality and size give us problems.” Chicago started 6-11, 260-pound Nikola Vucevic, 6-7, 215-pound Patrick Williams and 6-8, 245-pound Daniel Theis on the frontline and 6-5, 195-pound Coby White and 6-5, 200-pound Zach LaVine in the backcourt.

… Williams and White were two of the three North Carolina high school products that played for the Bulls on Thursday in a homecoming that included family and friends – and White’s University of North Carolina coach Roy Williams – among those in attendance. White is a 2018 Wilson Greenfield School graduate who played at UNC. Williams is a 2019 West Charlotte High graduate who played for Gastonia’s Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. And Devon Dotson is a 2018 Providence Day School graduate who played at Kansas.

… Vucevic had 29 points and 14 rebounds to lead Chicago. White added 14 points, four rebounds and six assists. And Williams had 11 points and nine rebounds.

… Chicago is the fifth team to sweep Charlotte this season – and by a collective 51 points. Other teams to sweep Charlotte this season have been the Philadelphia 76ers, Mamphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers.

… Entering Friday, Charlotte (32-34) is in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets are three games behind sixth place Boston (35-31), one game ahead of ninth-place Indiana (31-35) and 1 1-2 games ahead of 10th-place Washington (31-36).

What’s next: The Hornets host the Orlando Magic on Friday at 8 p.m. It’ll mark the ninth meeting for Charlotte against former head coach Steve Clifford, who became Orlando head coach after the Hornets let him go following the 2017-18 season. Charlotte is 5-3 all-time against Clifford and 7-7 all-time against former Hornets’ head coaches; Charlotte was 2-0 against Dave Cowens and 0-4 against Paul Silas when they coached other NBA teams.