A nuance that has become apparent this preseason: This version of the Charlotte Hornets has a knack for taking trips to the foul line.
Prior to Monday’s home exhibition against the Chicago Bulls the Hornets had attempted 157 free throws to opponents’ 90. It looked like that trend would end in this game when the Bulls took the game’s first 11 free throws. But by the conclusion of a 94-86 Hornets victory, Charlotte went to the foul line 32 times, compared to the Bulls’ 24.
The Hornets are 6-0 this preseason with two road exhibitions remaining. This is the first time in franchise history the Hornets/Bobcats have won six games in a preseason.
Point guard Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 22 points, making eight of 16 shots from the field and 3-of-8 from 3-point range.
Three who mattered
Jeremy Lin: His stutter-step dribbling was disruptive to Chicago’s guards. Those moves earned him seven trips to the foul line Monday.
Nic Batum: He’s creative in those side pick-and-rolls with Al Jefferson, frequently getting to the rim for layups and free throws.
P.J. Hairston: Hornets coach Steve Clifford has said Hairston would be in the mix to be a starter if he gets healthy and shows something the rest of this preseason. He made four of his first five shots Monday, including two 3-pointers.
▪ The Hornets got back three players who missed Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks: Jeremy Lin (illness), Hairston (calf) and Troy Daniels (hamstring) were all available to play versus the Bulls.
▪ There was concern going into training camp that the Hornets would fall back defensively with all the roster moves intended to improve the offense. Preseason results can be misleading, but headed into Monday’s game the Hornets were second in the NBA in fewest points allowed (87.0 per game).
▪ Entering Monday’s game Hornets forward Cody’s Zeller’s field-goal percentage (16-of-18 or .889) led the NBA this preseason. But he missed his three shots Monday.
▪ The biggest goal of the off-season was improving perimeter shooting. The Hornets’ 3-point percentage (.390 entering Bulls game) was fourth in the NBA this preseason.
▪ In what has to be the Hornets’ most remarkable preseason statistic, they outscored opponents 118 to 61 at the foul line in the first five exhibitions.
▪ Jeremy Lamb suffered a right ankle sprain in the first half and did not return to the game. Kemba Walker suffered a left heel contusion, but was able to quickly return to the game.
▪ The Bulls played without Derrick Rose, still recovering from a left orbital fracture. Chicago big man Pau Gasol sat out the game for rest purposes.
▪ Hairston made a 33-foot jump shot off the dribble to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter.
B-minus OFFENSE: The shooting was off (41 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range). But holding turnovers to 11 was good.
A DEFENSE: Held the Bulls to 38 percent from the field and 6-of-27 from 3-point range.
B-plus COACHING: Steve Clifford is cutting back minutes to non-core players, getting the starters ready for a regular-season workload.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell