The Charlotte Hornets gave one of their grittiest, all-in performances of the season, but it wasn't enough to topple the monolithic Golden State Warriors; finally succumbing to the championship favorites in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, losing 113-103.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 26 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds in bounce back performance after two of his poorest shooting nights of season.
Charlotte’s favorite son, Stephen Curry, had another great night against his dad’s old team (and present employer) dropping 28 points on 11 of 28 shooting, and going 6 of 12 from three point range.
Kevin Durant scored 33 points, almost half of them coming in the surprisingly close 4th quarter.
The Warriors jumped out to an 11-3 lead to start the game, and it seemed like it was going to get ugly quick. But Charlotte kept fighting, feeding off of the toughness of small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
MKG led the Hornets with 7 points at the end of the first quarter, and was one of the few Hornets who did not appear to be shook by the enormity of the nationally televised match against the NBA’s flagship franchise. He finished the game with 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Spencer Hawes played some of his best minutes of the season, returning to the lineup after missing the Hornets past two games and chipping in 10 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and several big plays around the rim on both ends of the court.
After trailing by six points at the half, the Hornets came out swinging in the third quarter, relentlessly attacking the Warriors, eventually overtaking them and extending to a nine point lead late in the period.
For the briefest of moments, there was a collective “could we really do this/?” vibe in the Spectrum Center. Then Kevin Durant happened.
The slinky 7-foot former MVP dropped in 16 of his 33 points in final period, each one slowly chipping away at the punchy Hornet’s resolve.
After a statement first quarter, Steph had a relatively quiet second and third before putting a finite stamp on the game with two quick threes in the final minutes.
Nobody puts a period on a game like Curry. I can't count how many times I’ve seen the Warriors in tight, back-and-forth-for-46-minute fights that look like they're going to go right down to the wire, only to see Steph hit back to back threes from across the universe, then do a little shimmy, then turn his back and walk away. It's the closest thing basketball has to a Stone Cold Stunner.
And I look forward to watching him d