Hornets wrapup: Friday’s home game against the Chicago Bulls

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Friday’s 123-110 Charlotte Hornets’ home loss to the Chicago Bulls that dropped Charlotte to 6-9 overall:

… Hornets coach James Borrego was as disappointed with his team’s effort as much as he’s been all season long, particularly in the 20 turnovers his team committed that led to 26 Bulls’ points. “No excuse,” Borrego said. “They kicked our tail tonight in every facet of this game. It was the offense, it was the defense. It was in every area. What really turned the game was our poor offense, our turnovers leading to their easy dunks, layups, transition. We just could not get control of this game for the most part tonight.”

… The game was played after a five-day layoff, easily the longest of the season and contributed to by Wednesday’s postponement of a home game with Washington due to COVID-19 issues on the Wizards. “It’s certainly weird time off we’ve had with the game being postponed,” Charlotte forward Gordon Hayward said.

… Hayward led the Hornets with 34 points, six rebounds and four assists. Devonte’ Graham added 24 points, three rebounds and six assists. “There’s other bodies out there that have to perform,” Borrego said.

… Cody Zeller returned to action for the first time since breaking his left hand in the Dec. 23 season opener; Zeller came off the bench with five points and three rebounds in 11 minutes. “He adds a lot for us out there,” Hayward said of Zeller.

… Top reserves Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball had arguably their worst games of the season; Bridges had two points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes and Ball had seven points, one rebound and two assists in 17 minutes. “Those two guys have to be better for us,” Borrego said. “We need Miles and LaMelo to play better.”

… Zach LeVine (25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists) and Lauri Markkanen (24 points) led Chicago, which improved to 7-8 on the season. Rookie Patrick Williams, a former West Charlotte High standout, played his first pro game in his hometown; Williams started and had four points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.

What’s next: Charlotte visits Orlando to a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday at 7 p.m.
It’s the first meeting of the regular season against the Magic, whom the Hornets split with in the preseason, and marks the seventh time Charlotte had played Orlando with former Hornets’ head coach Steve Clifford; Clifford, who guided Charlotte to a 196-214 record, is 4-2 against the Hornets with four straight victories.