|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , October 25, 2019
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina Attendance: 14,879
Wolves, Hornets clash after dramatic opening wins
It might be difficult for both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Charlotte Hornets to top what happened in their respective first games of the season.
They'll certainly try when they meet Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.
Both teams are coming off one-point victories, accomplished in different fashions.
"It was fun to be a part of," Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said of an uplifting opening night.
The Hornets overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit Wednesday in a 126-125 victory against the visiting Chicago Bulls.
That included a franchise-record 23 successful 3-point shots (for a regulation game). It was also the most treys made by any NBA team in a season opener.
Minnesota won 127-126 in overtime against the Brooklyn Nets in New York. The Timberwolves saw an 18-point lead vanish, and they had to overcome 50 points from Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who set an NBA standard for the most points in a debut with a new team.
It was a good way to come together and bond for the Timberwolves.
"When you've got that kind of unity, everything works out," Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns said.
The Hornets weren't given much preseason respect, so an encouraging start seemed rewarding.
"I'm not surprised," Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "It's discipline and resiliency. You're going to have ups and downs through a game. You've got to have resiliency."
The Hornets already discovered some possibilities with various lineups on the court. Borrego said that will be something the team can look at going into future games.
Second-year guard Devonte' Graham had a hot hand in the second half and so he stayed in.
"Just keep shooting," said Graham, who scored 23 points while hitting 6 of 7 3-point attempts. "My coaches keep telling me to let it fly, and they have a lot of confidence in me."
Borrego said he liked the way the Hornets showed they could adjust when the script was altered. Graham has worked on his shooting and decision-making, and that showed for a night.
"(Graham) was poised down the stretch," Borrego said. "He made the right play every time down the stretch."
Hornets first-round draft pick PJ Washington pumped in 27 points, marking the most points for a rookie in an opening game in franchise history. His seven 3-pointers were an NBA record for a player in his career debut.
It might not always go as smoothly, but there were good signs.
"He's going to see different defenses every night," Borrego said. "His maturity, his decision-making I thought was great."
For the Timberwolves, it took a defensive stop on Irving on the final possession to secure the victory. The sources of offense ebbed and flowed.
"It was a good challenge for us in the first game to stay with our system," Saunders said. "You can play fast, and that's our system, but you also have to understand (various situations). ... We could have gone the other way. We kept fighting. These guys do have some grit. They have some toughness to them."
Towns had a 36-point, 14-rebound outing in the opener for the Timberwolves. The two-time All-Star also made a career-best seven 3-pointers.
"We're going to try to move him around the court," Saunders said, not wanting one game to define how Towns might be used.
Not everything went right for the Hornets in the opener, as forward Nicolas Batum fractured his left middle finger. The team did not announce a timeframe for his return, but Yahoo Sports reported that Batum will be out three to four weeks.
Charlotte center Cody Zeller didn't practice Thursday because of personal reasons, so his availability for Friday night be might in question.
The Timberwolves will play their home opener Sunday night against the Miami Heat. The Hornets head for a West Coast trip after the Friday game.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 24, 2019