Hayward posted 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 19 minutes before leaving the floor.
The Hornets turned heads when they handed Hayward a four-year, $120 million contract in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics. Charlotte isn't a marquee free-agent destination, which forces the team to occasionally pay over the odds for players who might be on its radar.
Still, many wondered whether the Hornets made a big mistake by giving that much money to a player who has struggled with injuries in recent years.
Hayward has repaid the Hornets' faith by averaging 19.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists through 43 games. The 31-year-old has remained healthy for the most part as well. He recovered from an avulsion fracture in his right hand to suit up for the team on opening night.
By going after Hayward, general manager Mitch Kupchak made a major statement of intent. After four straight years of missing the playoffs, the Hornets were ready to get back into the postseason.
Having the 2017 All-Star on the court is critical for the franchise to at least remain in position to qualify for the play-in tournament for the last two playoff seeds.