The Charlotte Hornets entered Monday with the worst road record in the NBA at 1-10. They hadn’t won a game away from the Spectrum Center since Oct. 30 in Memphis, Tenn.
But they used strong 3-point shooting to knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena 116-103 Monday. The Hornets made 13 of their 25 3-point attempts.
This was just the second victory in the Hornets’ last nine games and their first win in four. They improved to 10-16. They complete this two-game road trip in Houston Wednesday night.
Acting coach Stephen Silas shook up his playing rotation some, leaving in All-Star point guard Kemba Walker (19 points and nine assists) to start the fourth quarter. The Hornets built a 20-point lead in that span
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This was just the Hornets’ second victory in Oklahoma City since the relocation from Seattle to Oklahoma. The Hornets swept last season’s series 2-0. Prior to that, the Hornets lost eight in a row at Oklahoma City.
Three who mattered
Walker: He made a big 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, then drew a charge from Raymond Felton.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: He made eight of nine shots from the field.
Marvin Williams: He made four of his five 3-pointers Monday; he’s 44 percent from 3-point range this season.
▪ The Hornets played without shooting guard Nic Batum, who continues to feel constant pain in his left elbow. Batum had to sit out the fourth quarter of the Hornets’ home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday.
▪ Jeremy Lamb (shin contusion) and Frank Kaminsky (sprained ankle) both played. Lamb started in place of Batum.
▪ The Hornets announced that Cody Zeller, who suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, will have surgery Tuesday. Recovery time on meniscus tears are typically a minimum of six weeks.
▪ With Zeller out, the Hornets have had rookie big man Mangok Mathiang with the team, rather than in Greensboro with the G-League Swarm. Johnny O’Bryant, who can play both power forward and center, is now a regular in the rotation.
▪ The Hornets made their first four 3-pointers of the game, then missed the other seven they took in the first half.
▪ Hornets center Dwight Howard committed his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, but never got to five. He finished with 23 points and seven rebounds.
▪ The New York Knicks (1-8) were the only other of 29 NBA franchises to have a single victory away from home entering Monday’s games
▪ Kidd-Gilchrist again took primary defensive responsibility for point guard Russell Westbrook (30 points, seven assists). It’s likely Kidd-Gilchrist will also guard Rockets’ superstar James Harden Wednesday in Houston.
B+ OFFENSE: The Thunder didn’t do much to guard the 3-point line, and Williams and Treveon Graham kept knocking them down.
B DEFENSE: Westbrook got his, but Carmelo Anthony didn’t hurt the Hornets much and Paul George had a quiet second half
B+ COACHING: A bounce-back for Silas after bad home losses to the Chicago Bulls and Lakers
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell