Almost midway through the regular season, the Charlotte Hornets are 20-19 and are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game ahead of No. 9 Washington. This season, like last, teams 7-10 in the conference standings will compete in a play-in tournament at the conclusion of the regular season.
Charlotte smashed Detroit, 140-111, at home on Wednesday. Veteran sixth man Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a game-high 32 points and made a career-high nine 3-pointers in 24 minutes of playing time.
Oubre, 26, made eight of his threes in the fourth quarter, tying the NBA record for most makes in the final period, which was set by Milwaukee's Michael Redd in 2002. The NBA record for threes made in any quarter is nine, which Golden State's Klay Thompson accomplished in the third quarter of a game in 2015.
The 6-foot-6 Oubre is averaging 16.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He's currently shooting 46 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. He's in the first year of a two-year, $25 million contract, according to bleacherreport.com.
For the season, Charlotte's leading scorer is 6-foot-6 forward Miles Bridges, who is averaging 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. If the season ended today, the 23-year-old Bridges would finish with career high averages in all three categories.
The Hornets have also gotten a lot out of second-year point guard LaMelo Ball. The former No. 3 overall pick is averaging 19.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from 3-point range.
On Thursday, the NBA announced the leaders in All-Star voting after the first fan returns, and Ball is currently fifth in voting among Eastern Conference guards, trailing DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Trae Young and Zach LaVine.
The fan vote accounts for 50 percent of the total vote to determine the starters for the All-Star Game. Then, current players and media members split the other 50 percent.
The 2022 All-Star Weekend tips off Feb. 18 in Cleveland. The last Hornets player to earn an All-Star bid was Kemba Walker, who was named an All-Star starter in 2019 when the game was held in Charlotte.
The Hornets will play 21 more games before All-Star weekend, and will play just 22 of their 82 regular season games after the break.
Charlotte is back in action Saturday night at home against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are currently the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at 25-15.