Walker scores 30 as Hornets beat Bulls, 108-91

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kemba Walker scored 30 points, and the Charlotte Hornets led from the start and beat the Chicago Bulls 108-91 on Monday night.

Nicolas Batum had 19 points and 13 rebounds, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 20 points and Spencer Hawes added 13 for the Hornets, who won their third straight over the Bulls at home.

Pau Gasol finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago, which was missing three of its leading scorers to injuries: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic. Doug McDermott added 14 points, E’Twaun Moore 12 and Taj Gibson 11 for the Bulls, who trailed by as many as 25 points.

The Hornets led by 22 points in the first half en route to a 57-42 lead, and pulled ahead 78-53 with 3:42 left in the third quarter on two free throws by Kidd-Gilchrist.

Chicago pulled to 90-78 on McDermott’s 3-pointer with 6:53 left in the fourth. But the Hornets responded with an 8-2 run and led by at least 13 the rest of the way.

Chicago shot just 35 percent (16 of 46) over the first two quarters, allowing Charlotte to build a double-digit lead early. The Hornets hit seven of their first nine shots to go up 17-6 on Batum’s 3 with 7:07 left.

Charlotte extended its lead to 38-20 by the end of the period, and pull ahead by 22 points twice in the second quarter, the last at 46-24 on two free throws by Hawes with 7:04 remaining.

Chicago cut the Hornets’ lead to 50-36 on Kirk Hinrich’s 3 with 3:55 left. The Bulls then closed out the half down 15 thanks to Gasol’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.