Looking to win their first preseason game, the Charlotte Hornets took on the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder at home. It was a hard-fought matchup at the Spectrum Center that saw Charlotte squander an 18-point 3rd quarter lead. The Hornets’ lead was cut down to one in the final minute of the game, but they were able to hold off the charging Thunder to secure a 117-115 win.
Leading the way for the Hornets was P.J. Washington. The fifth-year player out of Kentucky scored a game-high 31 points. Washington would convert on 13 of his 18 field goal attempts, including going 5-8 from three-point range. The five-made threes were the most of anyone in the contest and nearly half of Charlotte’s total for the entire game (12). Also making multiple three-pointers in the contest for the Hornets were Terry Rozier (3-5) and LaMelo Ball (2-8), while Frank Ntilikina and Nick Smith Jr. each made one apiece.
Not playing in the contest was veteran Gordon Hayward. Hayward is dealing with some right foot discomfort, which resulted in him sitting out for the second consecutive preseason game. With the regular season around the corner and the Hornets needing the services of Hayward, it is wise to play the long game rather than rush him back or a game that means nothing.
Charlotte has notably struggled from beyond the arc this season, making just 16 of 68 attempts (23.5%) in their first two games. Sunday’s matchup saw the Hornets make their most threes (12) this preseason. While it is encouraging to see the volume of made threes increase, their conversion rate in the contest still leaves a lot to be desired (31.6%). Charlotte has one more preseason game left before the season begins. If the Hornets can show a little bit more improvement in this area, it would help alleviate a portion of the biggest concern in Charlotte this season.
Charlotte’s final preseason tuneup will be against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at home.