The Charlotte Hornets face the Knicks tonight. Will they need forty or fifty from Kemba Walker to win?
The Charlotte Hornets are starting to show a trend. To win games they need overtime and a big performance from Kemba Walker. That was the formula against Utah and that was the formula last night against the division rival Orlando Magic. Walker scored a mere twenty-one against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the team lost. Walker scored forty last night and its victory all around.
The 120-116 victory over the Magic was important for a couple of reasons. The Magic are one of the teams currently ahead of the Hornets in the playoff race. The Hornets also to get back to .500 and this win put them closer to doing to that. These are things that need to continue assuming the Hornets get to play the Knicks tonight.
The Hornets did not do things the easy way. To get to overtime, they had to overcome a fifteen point deficit in the third quarter. Walker was the primary engine in this, and would continue to be so throughout the overtime period.
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Of course no team scores 120 points on the back of one player if that player is not named Wilt Chamberlain. Spencer Hawes took advantage of a rare start to score sixteen and grab ten boards. Forward Marvin Williams joined him with a triple-double of his own. With Nicolas Batum resting, Troy Daniels came off the bench and pitched in seventeen points of his own. Brian Roberts also appeared and scored eleven points.
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So this win was also important in showing that the Hornets could win a game without Batum acting as the main conduit for the basketball. In fact it showed the Hornets could win a game without Batum, Al Jefferson, and Cody Zeller. That would have been considered impossible in the early weeks of this season.
It will be interesting to see how long Walker can do this UConn mode that he seems to be in. Whether he is doing it because he has to, or he was an All-Star snub (subs have not been announced yet), or because he simply can it needs to continue at least until the Hornets look better in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
They are scheduled to play the Knicks in just three hours.