Jeremy Lin scored a season-high 35 points as the Charlotte Hornets beat the Toronto Raptors in overtime at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight. Lin and Kemba Walker accounted for 24 of the Hornets' 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Hornets led by double digits for most of the game before a series of buckets from Kyle Lowry brought the game to within two. DeRozan tied the game up with a 13-foot jumper with 25.8 seconds left on the clock. The Hornets called a timeout to gameplan their final shot.
The ball was inbounded to Walker at halfcourt where he stood motionless, waiting for the clock to drain. With just a few seconds left, he dribbled left past Cory Joseph. The ball rolled off of Joseph's foot and out of bounds. Turnover.
Then this happened.
To overtime we go.
The Hornets and Raptors exchanged big buckets early in OT, but the Hornets began to pull away once the Raptors started to miss shots. Lowry tried to carry the Raptors to a win but finished the extra period shooting 1-of-5 from the field. For the Hornets, Walker and Lin continued to exploit the Raptors' subpar defense. The duo scored 14 points in overtime with a combination of 3-pointers, layups, and free throws. The Raptors just couldn't keep up.
By the end of the game, Walker and Lin had combined for 62 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Not bad, eh?
Living in Toronto, I watched the Raptors' feed on cable. The team's broadcasting crew frequently downplayed the Hornets' defense, suggesting that the Raptors were simply missing shots. While there's some truth to that, the Hornets' defense was a major reason they came away with a win tonight. Of the Raptors' 97 shot attempts, 64 were contested. They converted on 35.9 percent of those shots.
Offensively, the Hornets were equally good. They shot 43.9 percent from the field, and dished out 23 assists while only turning the ball over 12 times (and a handful of those turnovers were the result of, shall we say, questionable calls from the referees). Many thanks to Walker and Lin for stepping up tonight.
But Lin wasn't the only player to have a fantastic night. Nope. So did Bismack Biyombo.
Biyombo finished tonight's game with a career-high 18 rebounds, as well as eight points on four shots and seven blocks. This was a bit of a revenge game for Biyombo, who found himself in the middle of more than a few scuffles with former teammates. He's been doing well in Toronto. That makes me happy.
All in all, the Hornets got a much needed win against a conference rival. Both teams were without some of their best players, but that didn't stop tonight's game from being very entertaining. Zeller dunks, gorgeous passes from Walker and Hawes, Biyombo blocks...this game had it all.
Here are some more highlights:
Maybe this is a reach, but I can't remember a whole lot of better assists in Kemba's career. https://t.co/UOBDj2z3Zb— Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer) December 18, 2015
This is basketball. Still hard to believe this teams offensive transformation and how it's happened so rapi... https://t.co/STQvU9QmkV— Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer) December 18, 2015