It looked like the Charlotte Hornets would be able to cruise to an easy victory. It turned into a dogfight that came down to the final minutes.
Kemba Walker tied a Hornets record by scoring 30+ for the fourth consecutive game as the Hornets were able to hold off a resilient New Orleans Pelicans squad for a 122-133 victory Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. With the victory, the Hornets improved to 35-28 on the season, including 18-1 at home when they score more than 100 points.
Walker, who has been on fire lately, continued his white hot play. He tied Glen Rice for the most games with 30+ points with a 35-point, seven-assist, seven-rebound, two-steal performance, including scoring six straight points after the Pelicans had erased an early 17-point deficit late in the fourth quarter. Walker led seven Hornets who scored in double-digits — Courtney Lee had his best offensive game as a Hornet (18 points and six rebounds) to go with the tough defensive assignment of Jrue Holiday. Nic Batum finished with 15 points, six boards and five assists. Marvin Williams chipped in 14 points, to go with five boards and four assists. Cody Zeller added 13 points and eight boards while helping guard Anthony Davis, while Jeremy Lin (12 points) and Frank Kamisnky (10 points, five rebounds) each chipped in from the bench.
The Pelicans (28-35) were paced by outstanding offensive efforts from Davis and Holiday, who combined with Toney Douglas to score 94 of New Orleans' 113 points. Davis finished Wednesday night with 40 points and 13 rebounds, while Holiday added 38 points, six assists and four rebounds while shooting 5-of-9 for 3.
The Hornets came out on fire, hitting four 3s in the first five minutes of the game and eight in the first quarter. The team would build a 17-point lead in the first half, shredding the Pelcians from deep with their hot shooting (55.8 field goal percentage, 58.8% 3-point percentage in the first half) and passing (15 assists on 24 field goals). In the second half though, Charlotte fell in love with the deep shot and quit passing as much as they did in the first half, accruing just six assists in the second half. That, combined with a lazy defense and the hot shooting of Davis and Holiday, allowed the Pelicans to get back in the game. But New Orleans was never able to retake the lead, and the clutch play of the Hornets (first Lin, then Walker) proved to be too much for the Pelicans to overcome.
The Hornets return to action Friday night for a crucial Eastern Conference showdown against the Detroit Pistons.