A poor fourth quarter doomed the Charlotte Hornets, as they lost 120-103 to the Phoenix Suns. Kemba Walker led the team with 26 points and eight assists, while Phoenix was led by 17 points from Marquese Chriss.
The final score was indicative of most of the game, which was back and forth and full of offense.
Marvin Williams was hot early, knocking down two 3-pointers in route to 13 first quarter points. Walker was also strong, scoring seven points on 3-5 shooting.
The Hornets led for most of the quarter, and led by as much as 9 at one point. Phoenix rallied late, however, and Charlotte led by just four at the end of the first, as the Suns shot 57 percent in the quarter.
Charlotte maintained a four point lead into the second quarter. The second unit struggled to score for the most part, as they often settled for jump shots. It forced Clifford to send Walker back in with just under eight minutes remaining, and he’d go to work immediately, attacking the hoop for an easy layup on his first attempt of the quarter, then connected on an And-1 layup two possessions later. He finished with 11 points in the quarter
While Walker instigated the offense, Michael Kidd-Gilchirst did the dirty work, creating second chance opportunities by grabbing five offensive rebounds in the half.
Despite their efforts, however, the Suns hung around, and tied the game at 50-50 with four minutes remaining, then take the lead soon after. They led the rest of the quarter, finding it far too easy to score. Walker had a chance to tie it at buzzer, but came up short, and the Suns went into halftime leading 61-58.
The Hornets tied it right after halftime, as Nicolas Batum converted on an And-1 jumpshot. They wouldn’t take the lead again until a few minutes later, as Frank Kaminsky knocked down his first 3-pointer of the night. Frank hadn’t had a good night in the first half scoring just four points, but scored seven on his first three shots in the third.
Kaminky’s play was about the only good thing in the quarter, however, as the Suns rallied off 11 in a row, following his 3, building a 10 point before a three-point play from Walker broke the streak. But Phoenix kept firing away and connecting, keep the score near ten for most of the quarter. Charlotte managed to close the gap, though, and trailed 94-91 after 3.
The fourth quarter would be determined by who could get stops. Phoenix took the call, limiting Charlotte to six points in the first six minutes. Suddenly a three point deficit became 13, and the Hornets found themselves in hole they couldn’t get out of. And to make matters worse, Frank Kaminsky injured his shoulder, forcing him out of the game.
Ultimately, what was a promising game spiraled out of control, as Charlotte managed just 12 points in the fourth.