CHARLOTTE, NC. — After watching his team give up a 13-point lead in the last two minutes, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said he needed to clear his head

Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a tiebreaking jumper with 1 4 seconds remaining, 24 points which helped the Oklahoma City Thunder hold an angry rally for the Charlotte Hornets to win their season opener 109-107 on Saturday night

“The big ones do,” he said, “It’s a role I’m blessed for but I work extremely hard and I want to take full advantage of it”

The Thunder led 102-89 by 1:50, but Miles Bridges spurred Charlotte on with 11 of his 14 points in the final 1:06 – including a trio of 3s in the last 25 seconds, his last 3 tying it at 107 with 10 yet 3 seconds

Gilgeous-Alexander then took the inbound pass, brought the ball to the ground, and pulled up from a height of 23 feet to pull a contested jumper over Caleb Martin from the top of the key

“He understood how much time he had and got into his place,” said Mark Daigneault, who won on his debut as Oklahoma City coach

George Hill was 8 out of 9 off the field and finished with 21 points, and Darius Bazley and Luguentz there each had 15 points for Thunder after their first scheduled game against the Rockets was postponed earlier this week

“When the coach was working it out, he told Shai to leave at six I thought he hit the shot, “said Bazley

“This season will have many ups and downs, some wins and losses, but the more we can stick together and be resilient, the better we will be,” said Hill

Terry Rozier, who had 42 points out of 10 3-point points in Charlotte’s loss to the Cavaliers at the start of the season, had 19 points to lead the Hornets, but his desperation over the summer stayed away

Ball was kept goalless in the regular NBA season debut against the Cavaliers but scored nine goals in the first quarter on Saturday, including two 3s later, dropping a floater from 13 feet and adding a dunk from a steal He finished the first half 5/6 from the ground for 13 points to give the Hornets a 59-57 lead during the break, however, in the second half he failed to score and missed all four shots from the field

“I thought LaMelo played very well tonight,” said Hornets manager James Borrego. “There may be more minutes for him Tonight was a good move for him”

Hornets: Charlotte shot 6 of 31 out of the field in the third quarter after shooting 50% in the first half. Bismack Biyombo started at the center of Cody Zeller, who lost at least four weeks after a broken left hand in the season opener of the team in Cleveland fails

The Thunder struggled to postpone the game, miss free throws and flip the ball in the last 2 minutes, Daigneault said this will be an area the team needs to improve

“We could have dealt with it better,” said Daigneault. “Hopefully we learn from it and deal with it better next time”

Regarding his own performance on his coaching debut, Daigneault said he gave himself a ‘C-Plus’ “

Hornets: Will be tested if they host Kevin Durant and the Nets in a back to back home on Sunday night

Phoenix Suns (1-1, sixth in the Western Conference) vs Sacramento Kings (2-0, fourth in the Western Conference)

San Antonio Spurs (2-0, second in the Western Conference) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (1-1, ninth in the Western Conference)

Golden State Warriors (0-2, 15 in the Western Conference) vs. Chicago Bulls (0-2, 14th in the Eastern Conference)

Hornets

World News – USA – Donner vs. Hornets – Game Recap – 26 December 2020 – ESPN

Source: https://www.espn.com/nba/recap?gameId=401267182