LaMelo Ball scored all 24 of his points in the first half and four reserves reached double figures as the visiting Charlotte Hornets posted a 133-117 victory against the struggling Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
The Hornets led by more than 30 points in the first half in the second-to-last game of the regular season for both teams. Both squads will be in the postseason.
The Bulls (45-36) have lost four games in a row.
Miles Bridges finished with 20 points and Terry Rozier had 15. However, the bench production from Kelly Oubre Jr. (18 points), Montrezl Harrell (14), Jalen McDaniels (13) and Cody Martin (11) made a big difference for the Hornets (42-39), who shot 60.5 percent.
Zach LaVine’s 23 points led the Bulls, while Coby White had 19 points, DeMar DeRozan recorded 17, Patrick Williams supplied 15 points and Ayo Dosunmu had 14.
After Charlotte went up 128-101, the Bulls scored the next 12 points but by then there were less than two minutes remaining.
Ball, who made five 3-point baskets, added nine assists.
Charlotte shot 19-for-40 on 3-pointers to combat Chicago’s 13-for-24 long-range shooting. The Hornets ended up 10-for-10 on free throws.
Charlotte held a 31-point lead in the final minute of the first half before holding a 79-51 advantage at the break. The Hornets shot 66.7 percent (30-for-45) from the field in the opening half, making 11 of their 21 attempts from 3-point range.
It was Charlotte’s second sterling offensive performance in as many nights after drilling visiting Orlando.
The Bulls were in a huge hole despite making 50 percent of their first-half shots from the field.
The Hornets built a 39-31 lead through the end of the first quarter and then outscored Chicago 11-2 in the first 100 seconds of the second quarter — a stretch capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Ball.
–Field Level Media