The Charlotte Hornets’ fourth of five preseason exhibitions revealed little Wednesday, but it did confirm something apparent from Kentucky’s 2016-17 season:
Former Wildcat Malik Monk has a gift for scoring.
Rookie Monk, the Hornets’ first-round draft pick, played both shooting guard and point guard in a 108-100 loss to the Boston Celtics at Spectrum Center. The game, nationally televised on ESPN, was sort of a mess for the Hornets (1-3 this preseason) because of multiple injuries. However, Monk reinforced in his first game in Charlotte that he can put the ball through the hoop in a variety of ways. He finished with a team-high 21 points, plus six rebounds. Monk made four of 10 3-point attempts.
The Hornets had a bad night defensively, allowing the Celtics (4-0 in the preseason) to shoot 50 percent from the field and 51 percent from 3-point range.
Former Duke point guard Kyrie Irving finished with 16 points for the Celtics.
Three who mattered
Monk: His energy is definitely something the Hornets need more of this season.
Johnny O’Bryant: Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been searching for minutes for O’Bryant, his fifth big man. O’Bryant showed he belongs in the second half.
Al Horford: The Celtics big man made six of seven shots from the field.
▪ Clifford said definitively Wednesday that backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams (knee soreness) won’t be ready to play in the season-opener in Detroit Oct. 18. Carter-Williams has yet to be cleared for full-court scrimmaging.
▪ Jeremy Lamb, who has moved into the starting lineup with Nic Batum out, sat out this exhibition and will also sit out Friday against the Dallas Mavericks with groin soreness. Sounds like this is more precautionary than a major concern.
▪ With Lamb out, Clifford started rookie second-round pick Dwayne Bacon at shooting guard. That was, in part, to keep first-round rookie Malik Monk in a consistent role off the bench. Monk is playing both shooting guard and point guard, so he already has a lot to assimilate.
▪ Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed his second exhibition with an excused personal absence. That meant Marvin Williams switching to small forward and Frank Kaminsky starting at power forward.
▪ Third-string point guard Julyan Stone (hamstring soreness) also sat out. In total, five players were unavailable.
▪ The Hornets’ last preseason exhibition is at home Friday against the Dallas Mavericks. It’s a 6 p.m. tip-off. Mavs guard Seth Curry, who grew up in Charlotte, won’t play here due to a stress reaction in his left leg. Dallas rookie Dennis Smith Jr., played at N.C. State.
▪ The game was nationally televised on ESPN, with one of Clifford’s mentors, Jeff Van Gundy, as color analyst. Van Gundy said Tuesday he thinks Monk definitely has skills to play point guard at the NBA level.
▪ Former Duke forward Jayson Tatum, the third overall pick in the draft in June, started for the Celtics and might be a starter on opening night for Boston.
B- OFFENSE: Some good fourth-quarter shooting was the saving grace
D DEFENSE: Same old problem, giving up too many open 3-point attempts.
C COACHING: Clifford didn’t have much to work with, considering all the injuries.