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Valanciunas has big night, helps Pelicans beat Hornets

Valanciunas has big night, helps Pelicans beat Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jonas Valanciunas had 30 points and 17 rebounds and the New Orleans Pelicans spoiled the Charlotte Hornets’ home opener with a wire-to-wire 124-112 victory Friday night.

Brandon Ingram added 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Pelicans and C.J. McCollum had 21 points. Zion Williamson had a quiet night in his first game at the Spectrum Center since leading Duke to the 2019 ACC Championship, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting.

The Pelicans opened Wednesday night with a 130-108 victory at Brooklyn.

Terry Rozier flirted with a triple-double for the Hornets with 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. Gordon Hayward had 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting and added seven assists.

The Hornets simply had no answer inside for Valanciunas, who dominated in the paint against Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards. Valanciunas was 13 of 14 from the free-throw line and 8 of 11 from the field.

New Orleans outrebounded Charlotte 53-37.

After trailing by 16, the Hornets cut the lead to two with seven minutes left on Jalen McDaniels' fourth 3-pointer of the night. But Valanciunas re-entered the game and sparked a 10-1 run.

Ingram came up with a key play, stealing a Rozier pass at midcourt leading to a breakaway dunk to give the Pelicans more breathing room. Rozier went down with an ankle injury with 2:55 left, but remained in the game and finished.

BOUKNIGHT'S ISSUES

Hornets guard James Bouknight is not having a great start to the NBA season — on or off the court.

The second-year guard was arrested on DWI charges on Sunday when he was found unconscious in his car while it was in drive and later crashed into two police cars after he awoke. In two games on the court, Bouknight is 0 for 10 from the field while missing all seven 3-point attempts. He has yet to score.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Converted 32 of 37 free throws. ... Shot just 8 of 22 from 3-point range.

Hornets: LaMelo Ball (sprained ankle) missed his second straight game and Cody Martin sat out with soreness in his quad.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Host Utah on Sunday night.

Hornets: At Atlanta on Sunday.

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