NBA: Bulls down Hornets for third consecutive victory

Reuters

Posted at Jan 23 2021 02:26 PM

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) drives from the top of the key with help from forward Thaddeus Young (21) on Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham (4) during the second half at Spectrum Center. Jim Dedmon, USA TODAY Sports via REUTERS

Zach LaVine scored 25 points and the Chicago Bulls posted their first three-game winning streak of the season by defeating the host Charlotte Hornets 123-110 on Friday night.

Lauri Markkanen poured in 23 points for the Bulls, who shot 51.6 percent from the field. Markkanen was 10-for-17 and LaVine 8-for-12. LaVine, who entered the game averaging 27.4 points, made all six of his foul shots.

Bulls guard Coby White, who was held scoreless Sunday at Dallas and then shot 4-for-12 in a 10-point outing the next day at Houston, made a 3-pointer on his first attempt Friday on his way to 18 points in a return to his home state.

Gordon Hayward posted 34 points and Devonte' Graham scored a season-high 24 points for the Hornets, who hadn't played since Saturday. Charlotte lost its fourth game in a row.

P.J. Washington added 16 points and Terry Rozier had 10 points for Charlotte, which couldn't overcome 20 turnovers -- all within the first three quarters.

Both teams had longer-than-usual layoffs, with Charlotte's gap caused by the postponement of a scheduled Wednesday game vs. Washington due to the Wizards' coronavirus issues.

Bulls reserves notched 46 points, led by Garrett Temple's 15 and Otto Porter Jr.'s 13.

Chicago led 61-53 at halftime, aided by LaVine's 16 points and the team's 38-16 edge on points in the paint. Graham had 22 points in the first half, but backcourt mate Rozier was scoreless.

The Hornets trailed 95-83 going to the final quarter. Hayward's 17 third-quarter points helped Charlotte stay within range.

Charlotte was within 103-97 before Markkanen's 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter. That came when the Hornets went into a stretch of 0-for-7 shooting from the field.

Chicago was without starting post player Wendell Carter Jr. because of a thigh bruise.

Hornets center Cody Zeller played for the first time since the opener, when he sustained a broken hand. He scored five points in 11 minutes off the bench.