Charlotte Hornets

Devonte Graham has a 20-10 game, but turnover-prone Hornets lose at home to Pelicans

Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller, center, drives to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli, left, and New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller, center, drives to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli, left, and New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond) AP

The Charlotte Hornets couldn’t score when it counted against the NBA’s worst scoring defense.

The Hornets went without a point for 3 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the New Orleans Pelicans to pull off a 115-110 road victory at Spectrum Center. The Pelicans (2-7) entered this game allowing an NBA-worst 124 points per game.

The Hornets fell to 4-5.

Devonte Graham came off the bench for 24 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for the Hornets, while Brandon Ingram had 25 points for the Pelicans, who were playing the second game on back-to-back nights following a loss in New Orleans to the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Nice buzz

Graham impacted this game in so many different ways in the first half: 15 points, six assists, three rebounds and took a charge. There is a sense of command about the way he is playing that on some small level is Kemba-esque.

Bee stings

This was the sixth time in nine games the Hornets committed 19 or more turnovers. They reached a season-high 22.. Bad as it was Saturday, they actually weren’t in much danger of setting a franchise record. That was 33 versus Washington in November 1995.

Building blocks

Second-round rookie Cody Martin has become a fixture in the Hornets’ rotation. It’s a given he’ll be with the Hornets at least while Nic Batum is recovering from a fractured finger. Whether and how much Martin goes to the Greensboro Swarm after that will reflect how he’s using this opportunity, and so far coach James Borrego’s reviews are very positive.

Martin’s twin brother, Caleb, figures to be assigned to the Swarm soon. Borrego would much rather have young guys playing 30 minutes in Greensboro than watching games on the Hornets’ bench.

Beyond the numbers

The Hornets have yet to beat a particularly good team this season. The closest is probably the home victory over the Indiana Pacers, who were missing their two best interior players. Sunday at Philadelphia looks like a massive challenge; the 76ers have been a particularly rough matchup for the Hornets, although Philly will likely be without guard Ben Simmons.

Rick Bonnell is a sportswriter/columnist for the Charlotte Observer. He has been in Charlotte since 1988, when the NBA arrived, and has covered the Hornets continuously. A former president of the Pro Basketball Writers Association, Bonnell also writes occasionally on the NFL and college sports.
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