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Hornets struggle from deep in gritty game against Thunder, lose 109-104

The Hornets couldn’t find the range on their jumpers tonight, but still put forth a valiant effort against the league’s best defense.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Kemba Walker scored 25 points and notched 8 assists, Jeremy Lamb scored 18, and Frank Kaminsky scored 12 off the bench, but it wasn’t enough as the Hornets fell short against the Thunder 109-104. The arc was the achilles heel for the Hornets on this night, as they connected on only six of their 31 3-point attempts.

The game started with Marvin Williams tipping the ball into the Hornets’ own basket for the first points of the game. Jeremy Lamb came out aggressively, scoring eight points in the first eight minutes of the contest. Dennis Schroeder matched him step for step, scoring ten points in roughly the same amount of time. The teams stayed even most of the quarter with the Hornets trailing 33-31 after one.

The Hornets’ reserves jump started the team in the early second quarter. Frank Kaminsky had a couple of put backs and contributed to a couple Thunder turnovers over the course of a few possessions. Devonte Graham stepped up in the absence of Tony Parker and made a 3-pointer early in his time in the court and put forth a solid showing in general. The Hornets were able to build up a solid lead, but it quickly evaporated. A couple rough possessions from Kemba Walker were countered by baskets by the Thunder on the other end. At the half, the Hornets trailed 62-57.

The second half kicked off with the same sloppy play that plagued latter portions of the first. The Hornets had a stretch of six straight misses before Batum was able to hit a 3-pointer and stop the bleeding. At one point the Hornets trailed by as many as 12 points. At the end of three, the Hornets trailed 89-80.

The Hornets rookies helped the Hornets build some momentum with this play early in the 4th.

The Hornets were eventually able to cut the margin down to a single point after a Marvin Williams offensive rebound and layup in heavy traffic made the score 93-92. After several traded baskets, Devonte Graham got free on a run out for a layup to keep the Hornets within two. After a basket from Dennis Schroeder, Marvin Williams hit a 3-pointer from a Cody Zeller assist. Russell Westbrook lost the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession, giving the Hornets the ball back down one with 20 seconds to go. Marvin Williams missed a quick 3-pointer and Westbrook got the rebound. He was fouled and hit both free throws. Kemba Walker got a good look to tie it, but his shot went just wide. Westbrook hit a pair of free throws to set the final margin at 109-104.