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Bobcats-Hornets Preview

AP - Sports

After winning an NCAA title last season, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became the first teammates from the same school to be taken with the first two picks in the draft.

It turns out their reunion on an NBA court won't have to wait.

Davis will return after missing the last two games, and fellow first-round pick Austin Rivers also will be back in action for the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night with Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Bobcats in town.

Named the most outstanding player of the Final Four after matching an NCAA title game record with six blocked shots in Kentucky's 67-59 victory over Kansas, Davis knew he was going to New Orleans after the team won the draft lottery.

There was plenty of speculation about who the Bobcats would select after finishing 7-59 last season - with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history - and even Kidd-Gilchrist admitted he was shocked when he became the No. 2 pick.

Kidd-Gilchrist has started every game for the Bobcats (1-2) but has averaged just 8.0 points on 36.0 percent shooting.

Four other Wildcats were chosen after Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, including Hornets guard Darius Miller in the second round.

Much was expected of Davis, who helped the U.S. team win gold in London, but the 19-year-old big man had been sidelined with a minor concussion after totaling 29 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in the first two games. It was uncertain if he would be back for this matchup, needing clearance from the league's neurologist, but Hornets coach Monty Williams said early Friday that Davis is ready to return.

Williams also said Rivers, the 10th overall pick, will come back after missing one game due to a sprained left index finger suffered in practice. The former Duke standout's pro career is off to a rough start, going 5 for 25 from the field.

Miller started in place of Rivers on Wednesday and had five points as the Hornets recorded the lowest-scoring game in team history, losing 77-62 to Philadelphia.

"I've told our guys since we've been here that there's one way that we play, and there's one way that we're going to be successful, especially when we have guys out," said Williams, whose team had 24 turnovers and 23 field goals. "We have to play with more force. I didn't see that tonight."

Williams also needs to see better shooting, as the Hornets (2-2) are hitting 41.6 percent from the field and scoring a Western Conference-low 83.5 points per game.

Point guard Greivis Vasquez is handing out 9.0 assists per game, but he's shooting 34.6 percent while leading the team with 52 field-goal attempts.

New Orleans' offense could get in gear against the Bobcats. Charlotte is yielding a league-worst 110.7 points per game following Wednesday's 117-110 home loss to Phoenix.

The Bobcats, though, pulled even in the fourth quarter after trailing by 16 in the third.

"We have a good push back in us and that's tagged to good character," first-year coach Mike Dunlap said. "So the signs are there that that is going to be a positive - that we don't let go of the game. We extended a lot of effort."

The Bobcats could use a better first-quarter effort, as they're averaging 19.3 points in that period while allowing 27.3.

"We just have to continue to move the ball early in the first half and not dig ourselves in deep holes like that," said Kemba Walker, the team leader with 19.0 points per game.

Gerald Henderson, the team's leading scorer last season, remains out with a sprained left foot, but Walker, Ramon Sessions and Byron Mullens could help carry the team until his return in 2-4 weeks.

Sessions is among the NBA leaders in bench scoring with 16.7 points per game, while Mullens has 40 points and eight 3-pointers over the last two contests.

These teams split two games last season, each winning as the visitor.

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