Bouknight says confrontation with coach was misunderstanding

February 8, 2022 GMT
Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight (5) dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Hornets won 158-126. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight (5) dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Hornets won 158-126. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight (5) dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Hornets won 158-126. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight (5) dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Hornets won 158-126. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight (5) dunks in front of Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Hornets won 158-126. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets rookie guard James Bouknight attributed his sideline confrontation with coach James Borrego on Saturday night to a “misunderstanding,” saying it was about two competitive people trying to win.

“We talked through it and it’s all good,” Bouknight said following Tuesday’s practice in his first public comments since the incident.

The Hornets were outscored 35-8 by the Miami Heat in the third quarter of a blowout loss at home. Bouknight, who played only the final 14 seconds of the third quarter, objected to something Borrego said to him on the bench prior to the start of the fourth quarter and stood up to confront the situation.

Neither Bouknight nor Borrego has discussed what was said.

LaMelo Ball, who was seated next to Bouknight on the bench at the time, grabbed his teammate’s arm to hold him back from Borrego before an assistant coach stepped in and escorted Bouknight to the locker room without further incident. Bouknight did not return to the bench and also missed Charlotte’s home loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday night with a sprained left wrist.

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The rookie is not facing any disciplinary action, according to the team.

Bouknight, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, hasn’t seen much playing time. He’s played in only 25 of the team’s 55 games, averaging 10 minutes and 4.8 points per game.

“I don’t want to get deep into exactly what it was all about but just know that we talked about it,” Bouknight said when he asked if the disagreement centered around his limited playing time. “We talked over the phone and we talked in person and everything is good. We are trying to move forward and trying to win games.”

The Hornets are struggling overall, having lost five straight games to fall to ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

Bouknight said he loves being in Charlotte, his teammates and the way the front office has treated him since his arrival. He expects to be healed from his sprained left wrist soon and return to action.

Borrego said Monday that things are good between he and Booknight.

“Obviously, we were all frustrated, all of us, in the third quarter, early fourth, and it got a little emotional there,” Borrego said after the game on Saturday. “Beyond that, I’ll leave it there.”

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