Charlotte had to hop on a plane back to Charlotte to play a team that, like them, were also losers of six straight and about to play the second game of a back-to-back. Something had to give tonight in the Spectrum Center and, fortunately, the Hornets were able to secure their first win in November.
Kemba Walker led the way once again with 26 points and six assists. He may not have had as lofty a game as his 47-point showing in Chicago Friday night, but Walker hit six 3-pointers including a pair of daggers with three minutes to play. He also made all four of his free throws.
Dwight Howard had one of his better nights of the season with 16 points and 16 rebounds, putting in a strong effort against DeAndre Jordan. Howard was able to seal Los Angeles’ defense with ease and repeatedly found himself in excellent position to score in the paint. Howard played hard tonight.
Nicolas Batum did a little bit of everything, finishing with 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds, a pair of blocks, a steal and was a team-best +27 on the floor.
Jeremy Lamb provided a nice scoring boost off the bench with 17 points. Unfortunately, he left the game in the fourth quarter with a strained right hamstring and did not return to the game.
This certainly wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing win, but for a Charlotte team that hasn’t experienced any success at all this month, it was desperately needed.
Defense won this game for Charlotte, as the Hornets held the Clippers to 39 percent shooting from the field and 27 percent from behind the arc. Blake Griffin led the Clippers in scoring with 19 points but needed 17 shots to get there.
DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 14 rebounds but he couldn’t stop Dwight Howard at all and finished -21 in the game. Lou Williams had 25 points off the bench, 10 of which came in the fourth and helped the Clippers keep things close until the end.
Tonight’s win isn’t one to brag about, but it shouldn’t be one to apologize for either. Los Angeles dragged Charlotte into the defensive struggle and limited them to a 39 percent shooting effort, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Kaminsky, Dwayne Bacon and Michael Carter-Williams combining to shoot 4-of-25 from the field.
But timely 3-point shooting from Walker helped put the game away. Charlotte also out-rebounded L.A., had more assists and fewer turnovers. The Hornets did a wonderful job limiting the Clippers to a mere three points in both fast break points and points off turnovers.
Looking ahead, the Hornets return to the court Monday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves come to town to wrap up the season series. Minnesota won the first game in Minneapolis 112-94.