Kemba Walker did it all Friday, including taking a charge in the last two minutes to clinch a 133-126 Charlotte Hornets home victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Point guard Walker played the entire second half, finishing with 41 points and nine assists. He stopped a transition opportunity by the Pacers’ Bojan Bogdanovic, taking a charge in the lane with just more than a minute remaining.
Walker made five 3-pointers Friday. He is now two away from setting the franchise record for career 3s, held by Dell Curry. Guard Nic Batum added 31 points, making seven 3-pointers.
The Pacers’ Victor Oladipo finished with 35 points and center Myles Turner added 19.
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Three who mattered
Walker: That’s back-to-back games carrying his team about as well as one player can.
Oladipo: The move to the Pacers has been great for him, leading to his first selection to the All-Star Game.
Batum: Making 3s makes him so much more dangerous in other aspects of his game offensively.
▪ The Hornets’ 49 first-quarter points were the most in any quarter in franchise history. The previous high was 47 in the fourth quarter of a 1991 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
▪ Obviously, to generate 49 points in 12 minutes, a team has to shoot incredibly. The Hornets made 19 of 23 attempts from the field in the first quarter, 7-of-11 from 3-point range and 4-of-4 from the foul line.
▪ The Hornets got back reserve center Cody Zeller, who has been out since early December after tearing a meniscus in his left knee. Zeller was on a minutes limit of about seven per half.
▪ Pacers lead assistant coach Dan Burke coached in place of former N.C. State star Nate McMillan, who was away on a personal matter.
▪ Hornets power forward Marvin Williams missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. However, coach Steve Clifford said pregame Williams appears to have avoided a serious injury. There’s currently no timetable for Williams’ return.
▪ Former Hornets center Al Jefferson, now a reserve with the Pacers, got a nice ovation when he played briefly in the first half.
▪ This was the only home game in an eight-game span for the Hornets. They fly out Saturday morning on a four-game West Coast trip, after playing three previous to Friday in Miami, Indiana and Atlanta.
▪ The Hornets are now down to 12 games at Spectrum Center the rest of the season.
A OFFENSE: That first quarter was as explosive as any in the NBA this season.
D DEFENSE: The defense was hit-and-miss against the Hawks Wednesday, and somewhat the same Friday. The Hornets gave up all of an 18-point lead before regrouping.
C+ COACHING: It’s crucial to any kind of playoff run that they take advantage of what few home games remain this season.
Hornets 133, Pacers 126
INDIANA (126)—Bogdanovic 5-10 6-6 18, T.Young 4-7 1-2 9, Turner 8-14 2-2 19, Collison 4-11 0-0 10, Oladipo 11-21 10-11 35, Leaf 0-0 0-0 0, Sabonis 2-4 4-4 8, Jefferson 0-0 0-0 0, J.Young 0-1 0-0 0, Joseph 5-8 1-1 12, Stephenson 5-11 2-2 15. Totals 44-87 26-28 126.
CHARLOTTE (133)—Kidd-Gilchrist 3-5 0-0 6, Kaminsky 4-8 5-7 15, Howard 6-8 0-0 12, Walker 11-22 14-14 41, Batum 11-18 2-2 31, Zeller 2-6 1-2 5, Carter-Williams 2-6 0-0 4, Graham 0-1 5-6 5, Lamb 5-9 3-3 14. Totals 44-83 30-34 133.
3-Point Goals—Indiana 12-29 (Oladipo 3-4, Stephenson 3-6, Bogdanovic 2-5, Collison 2-5, Turner 1-4, Joseph 1-4, T.Young 0-1), Charlotte 15-33 (Batum 7-11, Walker 5-12, Kaminsky 2-5, Lamb 1-4, Carter-Williams 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Indiana 31 (Turner 11), Charlotte 43 (Howard 11). Assists—Indiana 21 (Collison 4), Charlotte 27 (Walker 9). Total Fouls—Indiana 25, Charlotte 21. Technicals—Indiana coach Pacers (Defensive three second). A—17,135 (19,077).