Kidd-Gilchrist outplayed former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis in the first half, scoring 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting.
"I had it going a little bit," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "That's going against my best friend, so of course it's special."
But the No. 2 overall pick left the game near the end of the first half after scratching the cornea in his right eye while diving for a loose ball.
He returned in the third quarter wearing protective goggles, but wasn't the same looking a little tentative and less aggressive. He had only four points in limited action in the second half.
"The thing with MKG that is incredible, and typical, is that he just played through it," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said. "He's a competitor and he gave us what we had and that was just sure willpower. Pretty incredible."
The Bobcats came in having lost 17 straight games, and the Hornets had lost 12 of their past 13 entering the game.
Charlotte jumped on the visitors early.
The Hornets led by as many as 21 in the second quarter before the Hornets stormed back to tie the game entering the final period behind nine third-quarter points from Greivis Vasquez and seven from Gordon.
New Orleans finally took the lead with 5:47 left when Anderson knocked down a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Hornets. Gordon followed with another 3-pointer on the next possession and they'd never give up the lead.
It was a dramatic shift of momentum after the Bobcats dominated the first half. Charlotte shot 64 percent from the field in the first half and took a 57-40 lead at the break, outscoring the Hornets 21-0 on fast breaks and 38-16 in the paint.
"We stopped being as aggressive in the second half as the first," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "We weren't attacking."
As for the losing streak, Dunlap said "eventually we are our own solution. We can't look external."
NOTE: Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap picked up his first technical foul of the season for arguing a call during the third quarter. ... Hakim Warrick had his first double-double for the Bobcats with 12 points and 10 rebounds.