Walker’s Late Heroics Lead Charlotte to 4th-Straight Win

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

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Just when you think there’s nothing else Kemba Walker can do for the Hornets, he finds another way to amaze us. Walker scored a team-high 31 points, including 11 points in overtime, and contributed to every basket from the field in the extra session by adding three assists as Charlotte picked up its fourth-straight victory, 137-128 in OT, on Monday over New York at Spectrum Center. With the 31 points, Walker is now just 20 points away from the Hornets all-time scoring record.

Turning Point
While Kemba Walker’s heroics in overtime led the Hornets to the win, it was his performance in the last minute of regulation that enabled Charlotte to get to the extra session in the first place. After Tim Hardaway Jr.’s three-pointer with 40.6 seconds remaining gave the Knicks a 117-114 lead, the Hornets needed someone to step up and Walker seemed like the unlikeliest of candidates after going 0-of-8 from long range in the first 47 minutes of play. But what’s happened in the past has never mattered to Walker, who is always focused on the next play, not the last. So with 21.5 seconds remaining and a hand in his face, Walker continued to show how clutch he can be as he knocked down his ninth three-point attempt and tied the score, 117-117. But he wasn’t done. Just as he’d done two nights before, stepping up with clutch defensive plays in Dallas, Walker was there on the defensive end. With the clock winding down, Walker was able to poke the ball away from Trey Burke at the top of the arc, and although Burke was able to regroup he had to throw up a desperation three as the clock expired and missed, sending the game to overtime. It was there that Walker dominated, hitting all four of his shots in OT, including three treys, on the way to the win.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Kemba Walker gear here)
Kemba Walker finished with 31 points on 11-of-21 shooting, including 4-of-12 from long range and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line, giving him his 14th game of 30+ points this season. Not only did Walker hit the game-tying three to send the game into overtime, but he dominated the extra session, connecting on all four of his shot attempts, including three treys, and handed out three assists to have a hand in every made Hornets field goal in the extra session. Walker has now made 43 consecutive free throws with no misses, tying the franchise record for longest such streak (Walker, D.J. Augustin, Dell Curry). Walker’s five made free-throws bring his career total to 1,998, tied for most career free-throws made in franchise history (Gerald Wallace: 1,998).

Knicks Player of the Game
Trey Burke scored a career-best and game-high 42 points on 19-of-31 shooting, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc. Burke completed the double-double with a game-high 12 assists while also grabbing one rebound and swiping one steal.

Game Notes
The Hornets 20 overtime points tied the franchise record (prev: at GSW 1/28/11)… With 23 points and 13 rebounds, Dwight Howard logged his 46th double-double of the season. Howard is tied with Larry Johnson (1991-92) for third-most double-doubles in a single season in franchise history… Marvin Williams added 13 points and three of the Hornets starters finished in double-digit scoring… Four Charlotte reserves - Jeremy Lamb (12), Willy Hernangomez (12), Malik Monk (11) and Frank Kaminsky (10) - scored double digits off the bench as they outscored New York’s bench, 52-24… Monk’s 11 points came on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep. Monk has made three-or-more three-point field goals in two-straight games and four of his last six appearances. Including his 11 points tonight, Monk has scored at least 10 points in four of his last six games played… The Hornets finished with 17 second-chance points compared to the Knicks 13. Charlotte led New York in points in the paint, 70-58.

Quote of the Night
“It was a hard-fought win. It’s good to come back like that at the end and I think it was a fun game to watch. Dwight was really good. Kemba was obviously incredible in overtime. Both Beasley and Burke were unstoppable on their side. There was a lot of scoring and offense in the second half. Our guys could have quit and they came back. Kemba made a really good defensive play at the end of regulation and had 11 in overtime. [Scoring/assisting on every possession in overtime]…which is really hard to do.” – Head Coach Steve Clifford

Next Up
Charlotte welcomes Cleveland for a 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Spectrum Center. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.