Treveon Graham to the rescue.
The undrafted Charlotte Hornets forward, filling in for a struggling Frank Kaminsky, nailed a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to secure a 115-110 road victory over the Phoenix Suns Sunday afternoon. The victory was the first of a four-game West Coast trip, and improved the Hornets to 23-29.
This game was historic, in that Hornets point guard Kemba Walker set a franchise record for 3-pointers made. Walker now has 930 career 3s, topping Dell Curry, who is still with the franchise as a television analyst.
Walker broke Curry’s record in 493 games. Curry, an original Hornet chosen in the expansion draft in 1988, played 701 games for the Hornets. That difference illustrates how much bigger a part of the NBA game the 3-pointer is now, versus when Curry played.
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Nic Batum finished with 22 points for the Hornets and Walker added 18.
The Suns’ T.J. Warren scored 21 points and Josh Jackson finished with 23.
Three who mattered
Batum: He followed up a 31-point game Friday with another strong shooting performance in the first game of this West Coast trip.
Warren: The former N.C. State star’s midrange game was a huge problem for the Hornets when the Suns built an 18-point lead early in the third quarter.
Josh Jackson: The Suns rookie has such a fluid offensive game.
▪ Hornets coach Steve Clifford was looking for better defense early Sunday than he got from his team Friday against the Indiana Pacers. Didn’t happen: Phoenix scored 31 first-quarter points without attempting a free throw.
▪ Amazing stat: The Suns took just 101 seconds of the second quarter to commit five fouls and spend the rest of the half in the penalty.
▪ The Hornets are facing a rough back-to-back, playing in Denver Monday night. It’s always rough playing in that altitude without at least a practice to adjust. The same will be true later this week, when the Hornets play in Portland, then Salt Lake City the next night.
▪ This wasn’t a great day for the Suns to draw a home crowd, between it being Super Bowl Sunday and the PGA Tour being in Phoenix this weekend.
▪ Clifford is using Michael Carter-Williams more together with Walker of late.
Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams talks Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, about his rehab from a left ankle sprain. Rick Bonnellrbonnell@charlotteobserver.com
▪ Power forward Marvin Williams missed his third consecutive game with an ankle sprain, but he says he’s healing well and there’s a chance he will play sometime on this four-game West Coast trip.
▪ Suns starting forward Marquese Chriss sat out this game over a disciplinary issue. Dragan Bender started in his place.
C+ OFFENSE: The 3-point shooting – 10-of-38 – left much to be desired.
D DEFENSE: Yes, the Suns have some dangerous scorers, but far too many 3s left open.
C+ COACHING: Clifford got the most out of Cody Zeller’s minutes limitation.
Hornets 115, Suns 110
CHARLOTTE (115)—Kidd-Gilchrist 3-7 2-2 8, Kaminsky 1-7 2-2 4, Howard 6-15 6-9 18, Walker 6-19 4-5 18, Batum 7-15 5-5 22, Zeller 2-2 3-3 7, Carter-Williams 3-5 0-0 8, Graham 6-10 1-1 15, Lamb 6-16 2-2 15. Totals 40-96 25-29 115.
PHOENIX (110)—Warren 8-14 4-4 21, Bender 7-9 0-0 18, Chandler 1-3 1-1 3, Booker 7-14 0-0 18, Jackson 10-14 0-0 23, Dudley 0-2 0-0 0, House 2-4 1-1 5, Len 2-3 4-4 8, Ulis 1-4 0-0 2, Daniels 3-10 3-3 12. Totals 41-77 13-13 110.
3-Point Goals—Charlotte 10-38 (Batum 3-9, Carter-Williams 2-3, Graham 2-5, Walker 2-10, Lamb 1-6, Howard 0-1, Kaminsky 0-4), Phoenix 15-29 (Booker 4-5, Bender 4-6, Jackson 3-4, Daniels 3-8, Warren 1-1, Ulis 0-1, Dudley 0-2, House 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Charlotte 43 (Howard 14), Phoenix 39 (Chandler 10). Assists—Charlotte 24 (Batum, Walker 5), Phoenix 24 (Booker 9). Total Fouls—Charlotte 17, Phoenix 25. Technicals—Phoenix coach Suns (Defensive three second), Warren. A—14,487 (18,055).