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Quickcap: Hornets squeak by Knicks, 76-71

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The Hornets got lucky to come away with a home win against the lowly Knicks.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Despite injuries to a few key players, including one that kept Kemba Walker out of the game entirely, and seemingly nobody on this team being able to hit a dang jump shot, the Hornets won a way-too-close one over the Knicks by a score of 76-71.

You never want to find yourself getting beat early by a team that’s definitely worse than your own, but the Hornets allowed the Knicks to start the game with a 9-0 run. The Knicks took advantage of some lazy Hornets defense, and some equally lazy offense, and found themselves up 23-16 at the end of the first quarter. I’d like to remind you that they did this without Carmelo Anthony. And this was before the in-game injuries to Bismack Biyombo and Marvin Williams.

Thankfully, the game tightened up in the second quarter. Charlotte finally showed some defensive effort and held the Knicks to 14 points in the quarter, to their own 20. You wouldn't be able to tell that from their shooting, though; the Hornets were shooting only .256 from the floor at halftime. The difference? Free throws. The Hornets had 21 attempts at halftime. That and the improved defense kept the deficit to one point going into the second half.

The Hornets finally took a lead in the third quarter, though its not as if their shooting improved that much. They kept getting to the line, kept up their defensive effort, and kept putting points on the board. The absences of Biyombo and Williams were felt, but Gerald Henderson led the team offensively, and Al Jefferson played better defense than you would expect him to, given his nagging injury.

The Hornets wouldn’t cede that lead, fortunately. The Knicks managed to tie the game with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Charlotte defense stayed strong, and kept them ahead despite another quite-bad offensive performance. There’s more than a few players who deserve criticism for their play tonight, but for right now, I’ll prefer to be relieved that they won at all.

That said, if you have any knee-jerk reactionary opinions, feel free to leave them in the comments below before the full recap goes up later tonight.