CHARLOTTE (AP) — Kemba Walker had 15 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, and the Charlotte Hornets pulled away late to defeat the Chicago Bulls 125-118 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win at home.
Walker, an All-Star game starter for the first time, had 10 assists and finished 5 of 6 from the field in the fourth quarter, sparking an 18-4 run to hand the Bulls their fifth loss in six games.
Malik Monk had 18 points and Nic Batum added 16 for the Hornets, who pulled even at .500 on the season at 26-26.
Charlotte trailed 100-99 with 8 minutes remaining before Walker scored nine straight points, including a drive through the lane where he lowered his head and got past Zach Lavine before flipping up a contested right-handed layup and drawing a foul for an old-fashioned three-point play.
The Hornets overcame 33 points from Chicago’s Bobby Portis and 30 from Lauri Markkanen. Both had nine rebounds.
It was Portis who put on a show in the first half.
The 6-foot-11, third-year forward from Arkansas scored 22 points off the bench in the second quarter alone, and eclipsed his previous season high before halftime with 28 points.
Portis was 12 of 16 from the floor in the first half with four 3-pointers, helping the Bulls build a 60-51 lead. The Hornets outscored the Bulls 37-26 in the third quarter to battle back.
Bulls: Levine returned to the starting lineup after sitting out Chicago’s win over Miami on Wednesday night with a sprained right ankle.
Hornets: Walker has 14 30-point games this season, the same number he had all of last season and one shy of career-high 15 in 2016-17.