The first quarter was LaMelo’s ball assist display. He helped get the Hornets’ first six baskets in a frantic open game. Mason Plumlee got into trouble early on, which opened the door for Nick Richards to check in and get to work. He scored seven goals in a row at one point and knocked out a few offensive rebounds. This one-two punch helped the Hornets score 39 points in the first quarter, and they took a nine-point lead into the second quarter.
He caught the ball on his third foul early in the second quarter, greatly reducing his playing time. The Hornets offense struggled in his absence, and the Kings gave a run to even the game. The offense seemed rushed rather than snappy, and the defense struggled to keep up with the Kings’ pace similar to what we saw against the Nuggets on Sunday. As with the Denver game – the Hornets were chewed up by the opposing quarterback. Domantas Sabonis went all out for Richards and Plumley and finished the first half with 14 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. The Hornets finished the strong half with a 12-2 lead capped off by four straight goals from Theo Maledon and went into the second period with a lead of three.
It didn’t take long for Ball to get the eight alley assist on a fast break pass to Mason Plumlee early in the second half. The Hornets with the full pool of players available scored goals just as efficiently as they started the game. They played with good pace and significantly better consistency in attack. Seven straight points that included Mason Plumley’s jumper off the dribble gave the Hornets a 12-point lead and forced a timeout for the Kings.
LaMelo followed that up with an almost impressive highlight some property later.
The Kings answered by scoring on six consecutive possessions to regain the lead. We got the highlight of the third quarter before the end of the third quarter.
LaMelo Ball opened the fourth quarter with a three to give it his double and followed that up with a second deep ball about a minute later. The teams went back and forth throughout the quarter. He poured the ball in for 16 points in the first eight minutes of the quarter and then found Mason Plumley with an alley half court to put the Hornets up seven points and force a timeout for the Kings.
De’Aaron Fox scored seven straight goals for the Kings to pull them within two. Gordon Hayward made a patented turnaround in the coating, then the ball forced Fox into a solid floater that was begging.
After two Kelly Oubre free throws, Gordon Hayward threw an inside pass, then the ball was called for his sixth foul on Fox’s attempt to block the ball. Fox missed the second free throw, and the Kings tracked the rebound and scored to make it a three-point game with less than 30 seconds to play. The Hornets successfully got the ball, and Theo Maledon of all people froze the game at the free throw line.
I put the ball in a dominant performance to start and end the game. His assists powered the Hornets early, and he was unstoppable as a leading scorer going into the fourth quarter.
Kelly Ober scored 31 points and 10 rebounds while playing his usual defense. Nick Richards scored another double-double off the bench with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Gordon Hayward added 19 effective points on 12 shots.
The Hornets were without Terry Rozier, who missed the contest due to a bruised groin he suffered during Sunday’s loss to the Nuggets.
The Hornets will try to keep the momentum going against the Clippers late Wednesday night.