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Hornets rookie scores 21 points in first-career start

Team says Vernon Carey Jr. may have earned himself more minutes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With a lengthy injured list, Hornets coach James Borrego turned to an unlikely player to insert in the starting lineup against the second-place Nets on Friday.

Center Vernon Carey Jr., made his coach look good, by scoring 21 points in his first-career start.

Charlotte lost 130-115 to Brooklyn, but Carey served as a silver lining.

"I did pretty well," Carey said. "Just took what the defense gave me. Stayed aggressive and shot the ball with confidence."

Carey, the team's second-round selection from Duke University, hit 9-of-14 shots, including a three-pointer.

He also grabbed 6 rebounds.

"This is why we drafted him," Borrego said. "There's a knack, there's a feel, and this kid's got it."

Carey had only played 10 games heading in to Friday, averaging 3.3 minutes.

Against the Nets, he played 35 minutes.

Borrego hinted at more playing time for Carey going forward.

"Based on the performance tonight, we've got to look at him," he said. "There's something there."

Miles Bridges had a career-high 33 points in the loss.

The Hornets (27-28) host Portland on Sunday night.