Hornets Head to Break with Win over Magic
Howard (22) and Walker (20) Combine for 42 in Road Victory
By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com
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Dwight Howard recorded yet another double-double (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Kemba Walker poured in 20 points, including a clutch three-pointer late as they Hornets came away with a 104-102 victory on Wednesday in Orlando. Charlotte now heads to the All-Star break with a 24-33 record.
Having seen its nine-point, fourth-quarter lead slip away on Bismack Biyombo’s layup with 1:20 remaining to give Orlando a 97-96 lead, Charlotte needed someone to step up in the clutch. To no Hornets fan’s surprise it was again the captain and All-Star Kemba Walker who was there to hit the big shot as he drained a clutch three-pointer from the right side with 1:11 left and gave Charlotte back the lead, 99-97. Following two Magic misses, Walker had the chance to ice the game but his driving layup with 29.8 seconds remaining was off the mark. Fortunately, Marvin Williams was there to grab a huge offensive rebound and Charlotte was able to work the ball around for a clinching Nic Batum trey from the right side with 11.3 seconds on the clock to put the Hornets up 102-97 on the way to the win.
Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Dwight Howard gear here)
Kemba Walker recorded his 35th 20+ point game of the season, finishing with 20 points while going 4-of-8 from outside the arc. Walker also handed out six assists, grabbed five rebounds, swiped four steals and blocked a shot in 42 minutes before heading off to Los Angeles to play in the All-Star Game this weekend.
Magic Player of the Game
After cracking the 20-point barrier just twice through his first 46 games, Mario Hezonja is on a roll for the Magic and scored 20+ points for the third-straight contest, finishing with a team-high 21 points to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
Dwight Howard recorded his 36th double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds, giving him the fifth most in the NBA this season. It is his 17th game this year with 20+ points and 10+ rebounds, giving him the eighth most in the league this season. It is the most he’s had in a season since having 24 such games in 2013-14… Jeremy Lamb tallied 17 points off the bench, marking his 87th career game in Charlotte with 10+ points as a reserve, good for second most in franchise history (Dell Curry, 455). This marks Lamb’s 31st game with 10+ points this season, passing his career high of 30 set in 2013-14… Nic Batum rounded out Charlotte’s double-digit scorers with 14 points and he filled the stat sheet with a team-high seven assists, five rebounds and a steal… The Hornets recorded a season-high 14 steals, led by a career-high-tying four steals from Marvin Williams and four more steals from Kemba Walker… With the win, Charlotte has now won 10-straight games against the Magic.
Quote of the Night
“We grinded it out. We played in spurts a little bit early on but we picked it up and got some important stops at the end and some really important buckets as well. That’s a big win going into the All-Star break.” – Kemba Walker