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NBA: LaMelo Ball helps Hornets win at home against Thunder


LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a three-point basket during the fourth inning of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Spectrum Center on December 29, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a three-point basket during the fourth inning of their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Spectrum Center on December 29, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

LaMelo Ball scored 27 points and had an assist in the triple double as the Charlotte Hornets returned home in a 121-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

Ball added 10 rebounds to an inspiring all-round performance to energize the struggling team.

PJ Washington added 25 points and Mark Williams, who spent most of the season in the G League, came on from the bench with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Mason Plumlee took 14 points with nine rebounds, while Jalen McDaniels had 12 and Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier both added 10 for the Hornets, who had a 52-41 bounce.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 28 points led the Thunder, as he was the team’s top scorer for the 12th time in the last 13 games. Luguentz Dort added 22 points and Josh Giddey 21 points for Oklahoma City. Tre Mann scored 17 points and Jalen Williams scored 15 points.

The Hornets shot from distance 54.8% but had to overcome a 19 to 29 ratio on free throws.

When the game was tied at 103, Ball and Washington made back-to-back shots, with Washington’s 3-pointer bringing the Hornets to 108-103 at 3:39.

Charlotte kept the momentum, taking advantage of Plumlee’s header for a nine-point advantage. Then, Ball’s 3-pointer extended the gap before the Thunder took the lead in the 112-108 round.

The Hornets are just two nights away from finishing their 2-4 West Coast trip.

It was the first of Charlotte’s last six home games, who have not played at home since December 16.

The Thunder recovered from a tough start to claim a 60-57 lead at halftime despite Charlotte taking 52.4% of shots from the field. Oklahoma City made up for that with seven 3-pointers and benefited from nine spins against the Hornets.

Oklahoma City overcame the Hornets 23-12 in the final 7:40 of the first half.

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