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Sports
Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

The Charlotte Hornets are on a roll. Panthers? Not so much

hornets home opener.JPG
Charlotte Hornets
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@hornets/Twitter
Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, No. 2., takes a shot last week during the home opener vs. the Indiana Pacers at the Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte.

The Charlotte Hornets are coming off of three straight wins as they face the Boston Celtics on Monday night. It’s the first time they’ve started off 3-0, and point guard LaMelo Ball, last year’s rookie of the year, is not disappointing fans so far — including a 31-point performance in Charlotte’s home opener against the Indiana Pacers.

“He’s been great — no hangover from rookie of the year,” The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. told WFAE’s Gwendolyn Glenn on this week’s Time Out for Sports segment. “He’s matured. He’s gotten stronger, and he’s got a better grasp of the NBA play. So if he stays here for the bulk of his career, he could be the very best player to ever come through Charlotte.”

The Hornets also play Orlando and Miami later this week.

The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, are having some problems.

The team lost for the fourth time in a row Sunday, falling 25-3 to the New York Giants. It was a big loss, as the Giants had only won one other game this season. The Panthers were only 2 for 15 on third downs, and coach Matt Rhule benched quarterback Sam Darnold in the fourth quarter, saying later he was “unbelievably disappointed in our coaching staff and myself, our players — the entire Carolina Panthers.”

“It’s just a bad loss,” Wertz said. “There’s no other way to put it. Carolina looked unprepared.”

The latest loss has some sports pundits and fans questioning whether Darnold will be a long-term quarterback for Carolina. There are potential options, including Houston’s Deshaun Watson and maybe even a certain former Panther — freshly vaccinated and currently unsigned Cam Newton.

“I don’t know if Cam would come back to Charlotte,” Wertz said. “It kind of ended acrimoniously. But he’s better than the guy playing right now. That’s for certain."

You can listen to the full Time Out for Sports segment above. Here’s a quick look at a few other things Glenn and Wertz covered this week.

  • There’s some more analysis of the Hornets’ recent wins and the Panthers’ recent losses. 
  • The Charlotte Checkers were back on the ice in front of fans at Bojangles Coliseum this weekend for the first time in nearly 600 days. The American Hockey League team won Friday’s game against the Hershey Bears but lost Saturday. 
  • UNC Charlotte’s football team is having a big year. The 49ers are 4 and 3, losing to Florida Atlantic last week. But they’re joining the American Athletic Conference and leaving Conference USA. 
  • High school volleyball playoffs are underway in North Carolina. Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High is the 4A No. 1 seed. “They’re 27 and 1 this season,” Wertz said. “They’re having a great year… I think this team’s going to go ahead and win it all this season.” 

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