What a game.
And he didn’t play in the fourth quarter. He didn’t need to.
To any astute observer, this game was over shortly after it started. It’s true that the Raptors managed to keep it relatively close until the half, but they weren’t all there tonight and it was obvious from the opening tip.
Had the Hornets not turned the ball over seven times in the first half, they likely would’ve closed it out far sooner.
The Hornets are back.
What clicked? According to Steve Clifford, a change in attitude.
Steve Clifford on his players: "They got sick of not playing well."— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) January 21, 2017
Walker led the charge, finishing with a line of 32 points (11-of-16 from the field, 6-of-9 from behind the arc), four rebounds, and eight assists. He took over twice in this game — once at the end of the second quarter, and again at the end of the third quarter — showcasing a multitude of different moves and shots.
Check it out:
Yeah, it was like that.
But it wasn’t even Kemba’s incredible play that got the Hornets the win. It was their defense.
The Hornets held the Raptors to just 30 points total in the second half and 32 percent shooting for the game. And they sealed the deal, too, snagging 51 boards versus the Raptors’ 31.
Frank Kaminsky had himself a game as well, recording 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block in 27 minutes. That’s the third time in his last five games that he’s broken into double digits.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, a steal, a block, and a team-high plus/minus of +29. Over the Hornets’ last five games, MKG’s leading the team is plus/minus with an average of +8.4 He’s back. His defense was outstanding on DeMar DeRozan, holding him to an inefficient 23 points.
The Hornets are now a single game over .500. It feels good to be winning again.
Let’s hope this momentum carries over to tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.