The Charlotte Hornets kicked off the NBA season with a commanding win over the San Antonio Spurs, 129-102. It was a convincing win for the Hornets without superstar LaMelo Ball, who is sidelined with an ankle sprain.
Still, Ball traveled with the team and was spotted getting up a couple flat-footed jumpers with the team in warmups, showing that it is obvious he still wants to be present and vibe with the team even if he is unavailable to play. Fun fact, Ball has never played in San Antonio since coming into the NBA. Weird, right?
Anyway, Terry Rozier took note of his star point guard’s presence with the team as they travel.
“It’s promising seeing a guy battling his way back still get court time. We know how bad he wants to be out there. We’re gonna need him later down in the season. He needs to make sure he’s 100% right. That kid loves ball he wants to get out there”
Rozier finished with a game-high 24 points, six rebounds, and six assists while running point guard in LaMelo Ball’s absence. He is more than capable, but he knows this team will perform at a higher level with Ball back in the lineup.
While the Spurs figure to be one of the teams leading the Victor Wembanyama race, this was still a promising team effort from the Hornets without Ball in the fold. Gordon Hayward looked solid in his first regular-season outing, putting up 20 points while shooting an efficient 6-of-11 from the field. This is a promising start for him since he only played in 49 games in the 2021-22 season. PJ Washington also looked great, dropping 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Nick Richards chipped in as well with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
It was a good one for a team looking to build up some steam heading into the season. They play a big game Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, who blew out the Brooklyn Nets in their home opener. Zion Williamson is finally healthy and looking to seize a 2-0 record on the season. It will be a good test for the Hornets to continue to improve in transition while taking care 0f the ball. The Spurs had 10 fast-break points and 25 points off turnovers. The Pelicans will be a much tougher matchup without LaMelo Ball.
It will be Charlotte’s home opener as well. Let’s see what the Hornets can do against a potential dark horse in the Western Conference.