CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan each scored 23 points and the Chicago Bulls routed the injury-plagued Charlotte Hornets 121-91 on Friday night.
Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who entered the game having lost three of their previous five games and clinging to a two-game lead over the Washington Wizards for the final spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
James Bouknight had 22 points behind six 3-pointers to lead the Hornets. They had their three-game winning snapped and lost yet another key player to injury.
Charlotte’s P.J. Washington, who scored a career-high 43 points Tuesday night in a 137-134 win over Oklahoma Cityr, left in the second quarter with a sprained foot and did not return.
It’s the latest in a long line of injuries for the Hornets, who played without LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre Jr., Cody Martin and Dennis Smith Jr. Washington was the only opening day starter who suited up for the Hornets.
The Hornets were so thin at one point they had a lineup on the floor that included five players who’ve spent time with their G League club, the Greensboro Swarm.
Chicago jumped out to a 19-5 lead midway through the first quarter, with six Hornets turnovers leading to 10 points. The Bulls, who never trailed, pushed the lead to 16 at the half behind a series of LaVine drives and DeRozan mid-range jumpers.
Chicago pushed its lead to 28 with about five minutes remaining when four passes led to an open 3 from LaVine. A short while later Billy Donovan emptied his bench.
Bulls: Andre Drummond returned to action after missing the last game due to personal reasons and had six points and 11 rebounds.
Hornets: Svi Mykhailiuk was the only Hornets starter to finish in double figures, scoring 16 points. … Theo Maledon got the start at point guard and had nine points and nine assists.
Bulls: Host Memphis on Sunday.
Hornets: Host Toronto on Sunday.