Latest Buzz: Top 10 Moments of the Year
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
The 2015-16 NBA calendar was packed with an unbelievable amount of memorable moments and dramatic sequences for the Charlotte Hornets, who are just one game away from turning the page on the regular season and beginning a new chapter for the playoffs. The following list counts down the Hornets’ top 10 highlights of the year in what is hopefully a sign of things to come with postseason play set to soon get underway.
10. Charlotte’s 25-2 Run vs. Wizards - Trailing by seven points going into the fourth quarter of a Nov. 25 home meeting with Washington, the Hornets closed out the game on a 25-2 run to notch a stunning 101-87 win over the Wizards. Jeremy Lamb scored a game-high-tying 18 points off the bench for the Hornets, who held Washington to just six fourth-quarter points to set a new Charlotte franchise record.
9. Zeller’s Redemption - After missing a pair of free throws in a tie game on Charlotte’s prior possession, Cody Zeller redeemed himself by hitting a last-second layup with 0.6 seconds left on the clock in what ultimately ended in a 95-93 home victory over the Knicks on Nov. 11. The win was almost spoiled though as New York’s Kristaps Porzingis hit a half-court shot at the buzzer, however, it was soon waved off following an official’s review.
8. Kemba Beats Buzzer in Indy - Down 95-94 with 16.2 seconds to go, Kemba Walker drove almost the full length of the court, splitting two defenders to bank in a late left-handed layup to take a one-point lead over the hometown Pacers on Feb. 27 with 2.4 ticks left on the clock. Paul George got off a potential game-tying shot on Indiana’s final possession but couldn’t get it to drop, giving Charlotte a dramatic one-point victory.
7. Hive Rocks vs. Houston - A 125-109 victory over the Rockets on March 12 was capped off by an explosive 35-point fourth-quarter as the Hornets snapped a 10-game losing streak to Houston while also tallying their season-best seventh-consecutive win. The atmosphere at Time Warner Cable Arena this night, particularly in the final quarter, stuck out as one of the loudest and most electric that the Hornets played in front of the entire regular season in Charlotte.
6. Daniels Dethrones Kings - A back-and-forth road battle with the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 25 came down to the wire with Charlotte trailing, 128-126 , and nine seconds remaining in double overtime before Troy Daniels nailed a long-range three-pointer (his franchise-record-tying eighth of the night) to put the Hornets ahead by one. Sacramento came up empty on its rebuttal and Charlotte finished off the victory thanks largely to a career-high 28 points from Daniels.
5. Hornets Finally Takedown Cavs - Despite the absence of Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson, Jeremy Lin helped rally the Hornets from a nine-point halftime deficit to stun LeBron James and the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers with a 106-97 home win on Feb. 3. Lin finished with a team-high 24 points and a game-high eight assists as Charlotte snapped a 23-game losing streak to James, including postseason play.
4. 4th-Quarter Comeback in Orlando - Things looked grim for the Hornets in their second meeting with Orlando this season on Jan. 22, as they entered the fourth quarter trailing by 15 points. Refusing to sit when it looked like the game was out of reach, Kemba Walker took over and finished with a game-high 40 points as Charlotte rallied to knock off the Magic on the road in overtime, 120-116, thanks largely to a huge go-ahead three-pointer from Spencer Hawes with 17 seconds left on the clock.
3. Charlotte Stuns Sacramento in OT (again) - One of the craziest games of the season for the Hornets found themselves trailing the visiting Sacramento Kings by 22 points late in the third quarter of a Nov. 23 home game. Kemba Walker would end up scoring 21 of his game-high 39 points to lead Charlotte to an unlikely 127-122 overtime victory in what was then the team’s second-largest comeback win in franchise history.
2. Kemba Makes MLK Day Magic - Fans were treated to quite a show in a rare matinee game as Walker racked up a career-high and franchise-record 52 points for the Hornets in a wild 124-119 double-overtime home win over the visiting Utah Jazz on Jan. 18. Walker’s big afternoon was also the highest-scoring performance in NBA history for a game played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
1. Lin, Hornets Shock Spurs - In what will go down as one of the most improbable wins in franchise history, Charlotte overcame a seven-point first quarter and battled back from a 23-point deficit to knock off the San Antonio Spurs, 91-88, on Mar. 21 for the first time in 10 meetings. Jeremy Lin scored a game-high 29 points as Charlotte sent the Spurs to their worst blown-lead loss of the Gregg Popovich/Tim Duncan era and also became the first NBA team to win a game when scoring seven-or-fewer first-quarter points since 2008.
Key Matchup vs. Magic: Jeremy Lin vs. Evan Fournier
Jeremy Lin and the Hornets will look to finish off their regular-season schedule with a win when they play host to Evan Fournier and the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night in Charlotte…With Nicolas Batum likely sidelined (ankle), the Hornets will look for another big performance from Lin, who is fresh off a masterful performance in Boston of 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a season-high-tying five steals in the Hornets’ victory… Lin will mostly likely be paired up with Orlando’s Fournier, who been on a run lately for a depleted Magic team… A teammate of Batum's on the French National team, Fournier is putting up an impressive 20.6 points on 47.9 percent shooting along with 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists for his last five games… With playoff positioning potentially still up in the air, Lin and the Hornets will be looking to finish the regular season strong when they collide with Fournier and the Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena for a Wednesday night showdown.