CARLOTTA, North Carolina – The Charlotte Hornets took a dramatic win in the closing seconds of Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings with a 124-123 win.
The Kings and Hornets got off to a fast start at the offensive end of the pitch, but they did it in different ways. Sacramento picked up where he left off in the last matchup against Charlotte, making seven sets in the first 12 minutes.
Despite being without PJ Washington, Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards, the Hornets took control of the paint by scoring 26 of their first 37 points of the night from the inside. Getting the ball to the circle resulted in many high percentage shots that paved the way for the Hornets to shoot 59% off the floor. Cody Martin led all the scorers through one with 11 points. Vernon Carey started from the center and immediately got in the game with five quick points and a rebound. Miles Bridges had a strong hold for the cup and took the lead and one to extend the Hornets at 37-28, but a pair of threes and a Davion Mitchell buzzer-beater reduced him to just one, 37-36.
The second quarter had a lot of similarities, but the roles reversed. The Kings went into double digits, but the Hornets closed the gap to just two before the interval, 71-69. Sacramento brought this momentum into the opening minutes of the second to go up a 12-4 run and take a 48-41 lead. Head coach James Borrego called a timeout but the Hornets overturned it once play resumed and Davion Mitchell pulled out a three, extending the lead to ten. Gordon Hayward was aggressive from seven minutes onwards and made a handful of mid-range jumpers and went under the basket on some other possessions to help the Hornets get back. Rookie James Bouknight struck a three followed by a steal dunk and fastbreak from Cody Martin to give the Hornets a short lead. With five seconds left, Bouknight was called for a foul on De’Aaron Fox which gave the Kings a 71-69 lead at half time.
Miles Bridges got the Hornets fans to their feet early in the third with a ferocious alley-oop to tie the match at 71 apiece. However, that would be the last bucket Charlotte would score for the next three minutes. Tyrese Haliburton scored a pair of threes, leading the Kings to a 12-2 off the gate. Borrego called timeout and this time the Hornets responded and returned immediately. Bouknight gained some confidence after seeing three straight triples come in and picked up ten points in the fourth. Bridges made a one-point play with two buckets inside the paint to close the third, making the Sacramento score 99-98.
Bouknight gave the Hornets the lead with two other threes to open the fourth. The bridges also connected from deep inside to give the Hornets their biggest advantage from the first quarter, 109-101. A few possessions later, Bridges went for the basket and made a pass over his right shoulder to Kelly Oubre at the top of the key for a three, returning the Hornets’ lead to two points. Terrance Davis threw a powerful dunk just out of the lane and posed in an easy layup to cut to 120-119. On the next floor trip, Fox hit a mid-elbow jumper to put the Kings on top. Cody Martin responded with a three to regain the lead. Fox was able to equalize the game at 123-123 after being fouled by JT Thor. The Hornets seemed to want to leave the game in the hands of Gordon Hayward, but after the ball was shoved into the backcourt, Cody Martin became the hero of the night with a tough ending to the limit that also got fouled. However, the Kings challenged the bucket and somehow got blown off the board, but Martin still went on the free throw line for two throws. Martin missed the first but made the second to give the Hornets a one-point lead by less than five seconds. Martin then fouled Fox with two seconds left who shot 72% from the line but missed both and the Hornets were able to hold on for the 124-123 win.
The Hornets will return to action on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks to begin a long journey of six games. The tip is set for 8:30 pm
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