The Charlotte Hornets' offense was too much for the Brooklyn Nets, as they left the Barclays Center with a 104-96 victory. It wasn't always pretty, but the Hornets managed to answer every run the Nets made. In fact, Brooklyn's' last lead was 18-16 with 5:36 left in the first quarter.
Kemba Walker was again unstoppable, getting to every spot he wanted to, and finished with 28 points. Along with Al Jefferson, the two helped give the Hornets a 29-26 lead at the end of the first quarter. Big Al went three for three from the field in that quarter, and ended with an impressive 18 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
It was certainly not the first time Big Al has been a problem for the Nets. He's previously posted three games of 30+ points and 15 plus rebounds against this team. However, the same can be said of Brooklyn's big man Brook Lopez, who tonight added 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Lopez's passing was extremely effective all night, and posed many problems to the Hornets' defense. Joe Johnson also had success against the Hornets' defense by adding 17 points on only six shots, but disappeared late in the second half.
In the second quarter, the Hornets got off to a fast start and built a double digit lead with the help of Jeremy Lin's aggressiveness. Although his shot has been off as of late, Lin was able to run the offense effectively and had a few nice finishes in transition. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Right before the half though, the Nets inched their way back by forcing turnovers, and cut the Hornets' lead to eight.
Newly acquired Courtney Lee got things started for the Hornets in the second half with a quick corner three, and the Hornets eventually stretched their lead to double digits once again. Lee got the start in his first game with the Hornets, and even though he only finished with five points, his defensive presence was certainly noted. Additionally, Walker took a solid first half performance and built off it by completely taking over the third quarter. Brooklyn's point guards Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin had no answer for him all night long, and Walker scored 11 in the third quarter alone. The Hornets took an 86-73 lead into the fourth.
Again however, the Nets fought their way back in the fourth quarter with the help of Markel Brown and Lopez. Brown had seven points and three assists in the second half alone, but was really the only spark of the Nets' bench. Their bench unit got outscored 36-27 by the impressive bench unit of the Hornets. When Walker checked back into the game in the latter half of the final quarter, he did what he does best and closed the game. The Hornets quickly extended their lead from six to 13.
If you didn't know how good he's been in the last few minutes of games, here's a look:
Is that good? pic.twitter.com/sm7WuZQer7— Russell Varner (@rvarner) February 22, 2016
The Hornets have now won both games against the Nets, and play them twice more before the season's end. Also, the Hornets extended their winning streak to five, and have won four straight on the road. The team continues its five game road-trip with a battle against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. The Hornets are .500 against the Cavs this season.