The NBA season officially started and Phenom Hoop Report was in for a treat on Wednesday night, as we headed to the Spectrum Center to get a glimpse of the Charlotte Hornets, as they opened the night against the Chicago Bulls.
It was an offensive showing for both teams and it went back and forth towards the end, but the Hornets kicked off the season with a narrow 126-125 victory at home. It was also a game that featured a ton of Phenom Alums in action. Let’s take a look at how it went down, along with a few takeaways and standouts.
End of 1st Quarter: Hornets lead 37-28
Hornets start off strong as Charlotte got out in transition and shot 54 percent from the floor/ 50 percent from three. PJ Washington started off well with 11 points.
Halftime: Hornets lead 63-55
Charlotte was able to create a 16-point lead in the second quarter but the Bulls use a strong late run to cut the lead to double digits. Lauri Markkanen led the way with 16 points for the Bulls, while Coby White had 11 points. Washington had 17 points at half, while Cody Zeller had 10 points, 7 rebounds.
End of 3rd Quarter: Hornets hold a 96-95 lead
Defense for both teams struggled, as the Bulls outscored Charlotte 40-33 in the 3rd quarter. The Bulls used a strong start to eventually take a lead but Marvin Williams really stepped up with 12 points in the quarter to help Charlotte hold a 1-point lead.
Game: Hornets win 126-125
The Bulls used a late run to secure a 10-point margin in the fourth quarter but Charlotte never gave up. Climbing their way back in, led by 6 3-pointers and 11 points in the fourth quarter by Devonte’ Graham, the Hornets were able to hold on late with critical free throws.
Hornets: PJ Washington 27pts, Cody Zeller 15pts/ 12rebs, Dwayne Bacon 22pts, Devonte Graham 23pts/ 8asts, Marvin Williams 17pts
Bulls: Lauri Markkanen 35pts/ 17rebs, Wendell Carter Jr. 12pts, Zach Levine 16pts, Coby White 17pts, Thaddeus Young 17pts
Franchise record from 3: It was a night to remember for Charlotte. When watching this team, it did seem that there was more sharing of the basketball and not just relying on one player. And it helped in the win, as the ball kept moving and multiple players were able to stretch the floor and knock down a new franchise record 23 3-pointers. Washington hit seven, while Graham had six and Williams finished with five. In all, six different players hit a three to secure the victory, eventually shooting 52 percent from behind the arc.
What an opening night for PJ Washington: It was a night that Washington won’t forget. Starting in his first NBA game, he came out ready to roll and eventually led the team in scoring with 27 points. He hit 7 3-pointers and really was a mismatch on the floor with his versatility and toughness getting to the rim at times.
Lauri Markkanen and Coby White looked special: Markkanen played incredibly well, scoring 35 points and securing 17 rebounds. He did much of that around the rim, his mid-range jumper, and at the free-throw line. There weren’t too many that were going to stop him tonight for sure. He looks to only improve from a fantastic year last year. Coby White saw 27 minutes of action and continued to show his scoring ability at all three levels. Knocking in his first outside shot from three, White also attacked the rim, finished strong, and used his speed en route to 17 points in his NBA debut.