Batum, Howard Help Hornets Snap Skid
Double-Doubles from Nic and Dwight Get Charlotte Back on Winning Track
By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com
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Dwight Howard poured in 30 points for the second time in three contests and recorded his 40th double-double of the season by adding 12 rebounds, and Nic Batum exploded for 29 points to go with 12 boards for his sixth double-double of the season as the Hornets snapped their five-game skid with a 122-115 victory over Phoenix on Sunday at Spectrum Center. Charlotte now heads out on a five-game, East Coast road trip.
Nic Batum may not have called glass, but the Hornets will take it anyway. Having watched a 22-point, fourth-quarter lead cut to two (115-113) with 2:31 remaining in the contest, Charlotte needed someone to step up and it was Batum’s time to answer the call. After a combined four missed three-pointers from Kemba Walker (two), Frank Kaminsky and the Suns Elfrid Payton and a Phoenix turnover courtesy of Dragan Bender, Charlotte found itself with the ball with under a minute remaining and needing a shot to ice the game. With the shot clock creeping up his back, Batum pulled up for a three from the left side that he was able to bank in over Davon Reed with 52.0 seconds remaining, giving Charlotte a 118-113 cushion. Following a Payton driving layup to make it a 118-115 contest, Dwight Howard stepped to the free-throw line with 34.8 ticks left and buried two clutch free throws to give the Hornets back a five-point cushion on the way to the win.
Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Nic Batum gear here)
Nic Batum finished with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, to go along with 12 rebounds, seven assists and a steal. It marked Batum’s sixth double-double of the season and fourth in the last seven games. With his one steal, Batum has recorded a steal in 14-straight games, extending his career high. A total of 21 of Batum’s points came in the second half, including 14 in the third quarter alone, but no shot might have been more important than his banked three from the left side to help secure the win for Charlotte.
Suns Player of the Game
Rookie Davon Reed scored a career-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including 4-of-4 from long range, while grabbing six rebounds, handing out two assists and swiping one steal. Reed helped lead the fourth-quarter charge for the Suns, scoring 11 points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from long range and grabbing five rebounds.
Dwight Howard had 30 points and 12 rebounds, good for his 40th double-double of the season. He is the first Charlotte player to have 40+ double-doubles in a season since Al Jefferson in 2013-14. He finished with a season-high 30 points for the second time in three games on 10-of-15 shooting and a season-high-tying 10 made free throws on 15 attempts. With four blocks, Howard now has 2030 in his career, passing Larry Nance and moving into 18th place on the NBA’s all-time blocks leaderboard.… Marvin Williams had 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-8 from three. Williams has hit 100+ three pointers in three-straight seasons. He had zero such seasons from 2006-15. He is only the fourth player in franchise history to make at least 100 three-point field goals in three separate seasons (Kemba Walker, Dell Curry, Glen Rice)… Kemba Walker had 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. This is his 50th game in which he has made multiple three-pointers in 65 appearances this season… Frank Kaminsky was the lone Charlotte reserve to finish scoring in double figures, totaling 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field. He also grabbed four rebounds, handed out two assists and blocked a shot.
Quote of the Night
“Hey so sometimes you just have to win a game. How about that? That’s what I told the guys. No, I mean it. You lose five in a row, and at the end of the day, why do they invent competition? Some guy can win; some guy can lose. There were things that we could better obviously in the fourth quarter, but we played with a lot better energy. We needed to win a game and we won a game, so that’s it. That’s how I feel. It’s what I’m saying and I’m sticking with it. How about that?” – Head Coach Steve Clifford