Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Jeremy Lamb Banks in Game-Winning Half-Court Buzzer Beater in Toronto

by Sam Perley

March 24, 2019 – Jeremy Lamb banks in a game-winning half-court buzzer beater to stun the hometown Toronto Raptors.

Trailing by 12 at the start of the fourth quarter, the host Toronto Raptors ripped off a 27-15 run over the next nine minutes of play to draw even with the Hornets at 110-110. Dwayne Bacon’s layup put the purple and teal back in front a minute later, but Kawhi Leonard tied things up again with a pair of free throws.

Following an empty Charlotte possession, Leonard drilled a second-chance 18-footer with 45.0 seconds remaining to put the Raptors out in front by two. He then blocked Kemba Walker’s equalizing layup at the other end before failing to convert the dagger jumper for Toronto, keeping the score at 114-112 with five seconds left.

Charlotte called a timeout and after Pascal Siakam batted away Bacon’s inbounds attempt to Jeremy Lamb at center court, Lamb raced to grab the loose ball, turned and fired off a high-arching 48-foot heave. The shot finally came down a moment after the final buzzer sounded, striking the backboard at a perfect angle and slicing through the net for an improbable one-point win.

According to ESPN.com, Lamb’s miracle half-court banker was the second-longest game-winner in the NBA in the past 20 seasons, coming in just one foot behind Tyreke Evans’ buzzer-beater for Sacramento on Dec. 29, 2010.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Kemba Walker Named First-Time All-Star Game Starter in Charlotte

Feb. 17, 2019 – Kemba Walker is Named a First-Time All-Star Game Starter in Host City of Charlotte

For the third consecutive season, Walker was chosen to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star Game, but the 2019 edition in the host city of Charlotte marked the first occasion in which he was named one of 10 overall starters.

This was the first time a Charlotte player had started the NBA’s midseason showcase event since Eddie Jones did so in 1999 and third such instance overall along with Larry Johnson in 1993. Walker joined Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Paul George and Joel Embiid as the starting five for Team Giannis.

On top of being just the second three-time All-Star in franchise history, Walker also competed in the Three-Point Contest and assisted Miles Bridges in the Slam Dunk Contest. He finished the 2019 All-Star Game with four points and a game-high eight dimes in the 178-164 Team LeBron victory.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Kemba Walker Becomes the Franchise’s All-Time Leading Scorer

March 28, 2018 – Kemba Walker passes Dell Curry to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 9,841 career points.

Needing 20 points to pass Dell Curry’s franchise record of 9,839 career points, Walker was only halfway to tying this mark through the opening three quarters of the Hornets’ late-season home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. And with the team set to hit the road for its next outing in Washington, the window to pull off this feat at home was closing quickly.

Walker reached the 3:02 mark of the fourth still sitting on 10 points, but quickly racked up a pair of free throws and layup on Charlotte’s next two possessions. A minute later, he drew a foul on Ante Žižić, sending him to the line for another couple of freebies. Thirty seconds later, Walker drained a three-pointer to tie Curry’s total.

Coming off a missed shot attempt by London Perrantes, Walker grabbed a pass from Nic Batum at midcourt and proceeded to dribble down the left side of the key before swerving to the right underneath the basket. Splitting Žižić and Perrantes, Walker banked in a perfect reverse layup with 18.0 seconds left, officially crowning himself the franchise’s all-time leading scorer.

The game soon ended and an emotional Walker conducted his postgame interview with tears streaming down his face, fully engulfed in the moment with a cheering Charlotte crowd in the background. He finished his eight-year career in Charlotte as the team’s all-time leader in points (12,009), three-pointers (1,283), free throws (2,398) and games started (560).


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Courtney Lee Hits Game-Winning 3-Pointer Against Miami in 2016 Playoffs

April 27, 2016 – Courtney Lee’s go-ahead three-pointer with 25.0 seconds remaining against the Miami Heat helps the Charlotte Hornets notch their first playoff road win since 2002.

After the home team held serve through the first four games of the 2016 Eastern Conference Opening Round matchup between Charlotte and Miami, the Hornets returned to South Beach looking to steal a win on the road. They started the game strong, taking a 49-47 lead into halftime, although the Heat surged ahead in the third quarter to enter the final frame with a 71-65 advantage.

Both teams were neck and neck over the final 12 minutes, but Miami pulled ahead 88-85 at the 2:27 mark following a Dwyane Wade jumper. Jeremy Lin then responded with a 22-footer on the other end to bring the Hornets back within one. Neither side scored on the next five possessions, leaving just 30.0 seconds left on the clock.

Kemba Walker missed a go-ahead, step-back jumper, but Courtney Lee – acquired by Charlotte in a midseason trade with Memphis – swooped in front of Joe Johnson for the offensive rebound, dribbled it back out behind the three-point arc and fired a quick pass off to Lin. Lin immediately passed it back to the wide-open Lee, who stepped up and buried a triple to put the Hornets up, 90-88.

Goran Dragić had his go-ahead three blocked at the other end by Walker and Wade’s rebuttal was stuffed underneath the basket, with Walker once again coming up with the rebound. After a Dragić foul with 2.6 seconds left, Spencer Hawes successfully completed the ensuing inbounds pass, giving the Hornets a thrilling road win in Miami.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Troy Daniels and the Miracle After Midnight

Jan. 25, 2016 – Troy Daniels erupts for 28 points and eight three-pointers off the bench as the Charlotte Hornets prevail in double overtime in Sacramento, a victory dubbed the ‘Miracle After Midnight.’

After falling behind by 17 to the Kings in the first half on Jan. 25, 2016, the Hornets rallied to finally take a 65-64 lead about four minutes into the second half. Charlotte stayed out in front for a majority of the rest of the way, although needed a Kemba Walker free throw with one second left in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Trailing 126-124 in double overtime, Daniels made a short four-foot layup to knot the score again with 1:15 remaining. A minute later, Omri Casspi found Willie Cauley-Stein for a go-ahead dunk, but Daniels calmly responded with a 27-foot pull-up three-pointer – his eighth of the night – over Darren Collison’s outstretched arms to silence the Sleep Train Arena crowd.

Sacramento had one final chance on the other end, but Collison’s game-winner went in and out, sealing a 129-128 Charlotte victory at roughly 1:10 AM EST. Daniels’ 28 points (17 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime) were a new career high and his eight three-point field goals matched Ben Gordon’s single-game franchise record.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Bobby Phills’ #13 Hornets jersey returns to Charlotte for the first time since 2002

Nov. 1, 2014 – Bobby Phills’ #13 Hornets jersey returns to Charlotte for the first time since 2002.

A 6-5, 200-lb, NBA All-Defensive, three-point-shooting wing, Phills signed with the franchise in the summer of 1997 and was an invaluable member of the Hornets’ Eastern Conference Semifinal team the following season. He continued to build on that success and during the lockout-shortened campaign in 1998-99, Phills had a career year with averages of 14.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.4 SPG.

On Jan. 12, 2000, Phills was tragically killed in an automobile accident after leaving a team practice. Nearly one month later on Feb. 9, Phills’ #13 jersey became the first and still only number to be retired by the Hornets organization, rising to the Charlotte Coliseum rafters during halftime of a game against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. When the franchise relocated to New Orleans prior to the start of the 2002-03 NBA season, Phills’ jersey went along with it.

Twelve years later, the city of Charlotte reclaimed the Hornets name and all its archived history, included the beloved #13. The jersey was soon re-hoisted to the top of Time Warner Cable Arena in another emotional halftime ceremony on Nov. 1, 2014. Amongst those in attendance included Phills’ wife, Kendall, son Trey, daughters Kerstie and Brittany, former Hornets coach Paul Silas and former teammates David Wesley, Todd Fuller and Chucky Brown.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Hornets Stun Bucks on Opening Night 2014

Oct. 29, 2014 – The Charlotte Hornets rally for a franchise-record 24-point comeback win at home over the Milwaukee Bucks on Opening Night as the original nickname and colorways finally return to the city.

After a long 12-year wait, the beloved Hornets moniker and iconic purple and teal colors made their way back to the Queen City. The team kicked off the revamped era by hosting the Bucks at Time Warner Cable Arena, but the festivities gradually took a downward turn when Milwaukee opened up a 74-50 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Hornets furiously rallied the rest of the way though, eventually narrowing the gap to a 99-97 margin with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. After Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton thankfully split a pair of free throws, Kemba Walker raced back down to the other end and splashed in a game-tying three-pointer from the top of the arc to knot the score at 100.

Later in overtime with the score still tied and time winding down, Walker dropped in a trademark 20-foot step-back jumper over Brandon Knight right as the shot clock expired to put Charlotte up by two with five seconds to go. Middleton missed a potential game-winning three-pointer on the next Bucks possession, sealing a 108-106 overtime win for the Hornets in front of a raucous, deafening hometown Charlotte crowd.

On top of those two big shots, Walker finished the night with a game-high 26 points and five assists and teammates Marvin Williams (19), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (17), Al Jefferson (14), and Cody Zeller (11) also scored in double figures. Still today, Opening Night 2014 remains the largest-ever come-from-behind victory by a Hornets squad and one of the most unforgettable nights ever in Charlotte basketball.


Al Jefferson Makes Third Team All-NBA

June 4, 2014 – Al Jefferson is named to the All-NBA Third Team for the 2013-14 season, becoming Charlotte’s first All-NBA performer since Eddie Jones earned Third-Team honors in 1999-2000.

A spectacular finish to the 2013-14 campaign (which garnered the NBA Player of the Month Award in both March and April) propelled Jefferson to exclusive All-NBA status, joining Paul George, LaMarcus Aldridge, Goran Dragić and Damian Lillard on the Third Team this particular season.

One of the last truly great, back-to-the-basket, traditional low-post players, Jefferson utilized exceptional footwork to spin and pump-fake his way to marks of 21.8 PPG (11th in the NBA) on 50.9% shooting, 10.8 RPG (ninth), 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG and 1.1 BPG over 73 regular season outings in 2013-14. The then 29-year-old, Aldridge, Kevin Love and DeMarcus Cousins were the only NBA players to average at least 20.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 2.0 APG this campaign.

Jefferson also helped catalyze a Bobcats squad to a 22-win improvement and a date with the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat in the opening round of the postseason, the organization’s first playoff trip since 2010. To date, he’s one of six players in franchise history to make an All-NBA team, alongside Larry Johnson, Glen Rice, Anthony Mason, Eddie Jones and Kemba Walker.


Top 10 Moments of the Decade: Michael Jordan Becomes Majority Owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats

March 17, 2010 – Michael Jordan is unanimously approved by the NBA Board of Governors as the majority owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats.

A minority partner in the team since 2006, Jordan’s acquisition made him the first-ever ex-player to become the majority investor of a major professional sports team and just the second African American amongst the NBA’s primary ownership circle. After growing up in Wilmington, NC and starring at the University of North Carolina – where he led the Tar Heels to the 1982 NCAA Championship – Jordan’s purchase brought him back to the state where his illustrious Hall-of-Fame career first began.

Over the past decade, Jordan has overseen the return of the Hornets’ nickname and branding, hosting the successful 2019 NBA All-Star Game and the implementation of a multitude of philanthropic efforts throughout the local community. Since he took over the franchise, former NBA players Grant Hill (Atlanta Hawks), Shaquille O’Neal (Sacramento Kings) and Elliot Perry (Memphis Grizzlies) have followed in Jordan’s footsteps and also bought shares in NBA franchises, with more likely on the horizon.


Wallace Makes NBA All-Star Game

February 14, 2010 – Gerald Wallace becomes the first player to represent Charlotte in the NBA All-Star Game since Baron Davis in 2002 and sixth player overall at the time, also joining Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice and Eddie Jones.

Coming into the NBA’s midseason showcase event, high-flying, board-crashing, all-energy forward Gerald Wallace was averaging 18.8 PPG on 48.1% shooting, 10.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 SPG and 1.2 BPG, while appearing in 49 of a possible 51 contests. Although he didn’t finish in the top-10 in fan voting, Wallace was still selected via the coaches’ ballot to represent an Eastern Conference squad that included LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson.

Wallace also participated in the Slam Dunk Contest against eventual winner Nate Robinson, DeMar DeRozan and Shannon Brown and finished with two points and three rebounds in the East’s 141-139 All-Star Game victory. Like Wallace, Eastern Conference teammates Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Al Horford and David Lee were also first-time representatives at the event.

Wallace finished his last full season in Charlotte with marks of 18.2 PPG on 48.4% shooting, 10.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.5 SPG and 1.1 BPG over 76 total appearances, helping the franchise reach the postseason for the first time since 2002. He became the first and still only Charlotte player to ever make the NBA All-Defensive First Team, joining Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant on the 2010 edition.

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