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Hornets can't figure out Knicks zone defense, collapse and lose 126-124

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The Knicks switched to a zone defense in the second half, and the Hornets were perplexed.

NBA: New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets went cold in the second half, squandering what at one point was a 21 point lead. The first half was impeccable but was canceled out by an equally poor second half. Overtime was needed to settle it, where the Hornets ultimately fell 126-124.

After about half a quarter's worth of traded baskets, the Hornets blew the game open with a 13-0 run. Kemba Walker built off the momentum he created late in the game against the Pistons with 11 points in the first five minutes of the contest. Jeremy Lamb knocked down a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the quarter to put the Hornets up 33-13. Kevin Knox answered with a three of his own to make the score 33-16 after one.

The first few minutes of the second quarter were the Frank and Malik show. The duo combined for 16 points in the first five minutes of the period, with many of Kaminsky's baskets coming off Monk assists. Neither team played much defense the rest of the quarter, combining for 44 points over the last 7 minutes of the half. A Nicolas Batum dunk in the half's waning seconds set the margin at 72-53 heading into intermission.

The third quarter was rather bland. The Knicks went to a zone defense that slowed down the Hornets pace. The Hornets didn't help themselves by passing up several open 3-pointers while trying to break the zone down. On the other end, the Knicks hit a bevy of mid range jump shots. After three, the Hornets held a 93-78 lead.

The Hornets apparently forgot there was one more quarter to play. The Knicks continued playing their zone defense and the Hornets looked lost trying to break it down. The Knicks were able to climb back into the game, eventually taking the lead with just over four minutes to play. Nic Batum and Jeremy Lamb got the lead back with a 3-pointer and layup respectively, but the Knicks answered with four straight points to lock the game up again. After Kemba missed a 3-pointer on the Hornets final possession, the Knicks got the ball back with 4.4 seconds to go. Emmanuel Mudiay's 3-pointer rattled in and out, and the game went to overtime.

The Knicks stayed hot in the overtime period and the Hornets struggled to keep up. The Knicks connected on five of their six attempts in overtime, all but one of which came from at least ten feet away. The defense finally broke down completely on a late Knicks inbound, leading to an open Mudiayayup that essentially iced the game. The Hornets were gifted one last chance after Knox missed a pair of free throws, but Kemba couldn't score on his coast to coast drive.

Cody Zeller was the brightest star in the loss, hauling in 13 rebounds to go with his 21 points. Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams chipped in with 21 and 20 points respectively.

The Hornets have just 24 hours to bounce back from the loss with the Lakers visiting Spectrum Center on Saturday night.