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Hornets wrapup: Charlotte starts strong as it seeks first 4-game winning streak late in 2018-19 season

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Monday’s 109-88 Charlotte Hornets’ home win over the New York Knicks that improved the team to 6-5 overall:

… Charlotte has a winning record for the first time since it was 16-15 in December 2018 and it was the team’s first four-game winning streak since late in the 2018-19 season.

… The Hornets scored the game’s first 10 points and lead 31-14 with 2:33 left in the first quarter. “To me, this was a major step for our program having a win like tonight,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We didn’t come in here and take anybody lightly. We were professional the way we started the game with a 10-0 start.”

… Veteran Gordon Hayward set a career high for points in a half with 28 in the first half before finishing with a game-high 34 points. “This is why we brought Gordon Hayward here – for games like this,” Borrego said. “He set the tone tonight.”

… New York rallied to take a brief lead at 38-37 in the middle of the second quarter but Charlotte led 31-25, 57-50 and 82-68 after the end of the first three quarters. “It’s fun basketball playing like this,” said Hayward, whose team had 28 assists on its 38 field goals and lead the NBA in assist-to-field goal percentage. “Everyone’s involved and it’s hard to guard.”

… One game after becoming the NBA’s youngest player record a triple-double, rookie LaMelo Ball was efficient again with eight points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes off the bench.

… Devonte’ Graham had 19 points and seven assists, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington had 13 points each and Terry Rozier had 12 points. “We’ve got a system the coaching staff believes in and we believe in it,” Graham said. “We’re winning because we move the ball and share the ball.”

What’s next: Charlotte hosts Dallas on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Charlotte routed Dallas 118-99 on Dec. 30 and are seeking the fifth seasonal sweep all-time of the Mavericks; Other Hornets’ sweeps of Dallas came in the 1992-93, 1995-96, 1997-98 and 2016-17 seasons.