Kemba Walker scored 35 points and Jeremy Lamb score 31, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 64 combined points from Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, and the Hornets lost in double overtime to the Brooklyn Nets, 134-132.
Walker got things going by scoring the Hornets’ first six points, all coming off pull up jumpers. Nicolas Batum chipped in a pair of 3-pointers and played hounding defense on D’Angelo Russell, but the story of the first quarter was Jeremy Lamb. The Hornets second leading scorer poured in 12 points on five shots in the frame, with the majority coming in the second half of the period. After one, the Hornets led 29-22.
The gritty defense that was a hallmark of the first quarter went by the wayside in the second. The Hornets were a step slower closing out to shooters and rotating to help. The Nets made seven 3-pointers in the quarter, including four that were part of a 12-3 run in the final 2:06 of the half. At the break, the Hornets trailed 56-51.
The Nets quickly extended their lead to double figures early in the second half, but the Hornets wouldn’t go away quietly. A 14-2 run put the Hornets back in the lead at 69-67. The Nets countered with an 11-4 run of their own. A Walker 3-pointer at the buzzer rattled out and left the Hornets trailing 79-77 heading into the final quarter.
The Hornets retook the lead off a pair of Lamb free throws, but it was short lived. Malik Monk made his first impact play of the game with six and a half minutes to go, pouncing on a loose ball and showing some impressive ball handling en route to a layup to put the Hornets up 92-91. After some traded buckets, Walker hit a pair of 3-pointers to put the Hornets up 104-96 with just over three minutes to play, but the Nets scored eight straight to lock the game up. Kenny Atkinson had his team in a zone defense during the run, and the Hornets again struggled to break it down. The teams traded points in groups of threes. Three Lamb free throws and a Monk and-1 were both answered by Joe Harris 3-pointers. Walker hit Marvin Williams in the corner for another 3-pointer with 18.5 seconds to go, and it was answered with a trio of free throws from Spencer Dinwiddie. A wild sequence of events capped off by a pair of missed DeMarre Carroll free throws left the game tied at 114 after four quarters.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored two quick layups sandwiched a Batum jumper. Monk was yanked after two very poor offensive sets in favor of Tony Parker, and the veteran promptly knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Hornets up. Dinwiddie missed the front end of a pair of free throws to give the Hornets the ball back with the game tied and the shot clock off. Tony Parker’s jumper missed badly, and the overtime period ended with the teams still tied.
Dinwiddie converted a 4-point play to put the Hornets in a hole to start the second overtime period. The Hornets found themselves down by six, but a 3-pointer by Monk and an and-1 from Kemba knotted the game up at 130. The Hornets eventually ended up with the ball and the game tied, but Monk lost his dribble and the Nets took it the other way for the game winner.
It was a huge game for the former UConn teammates, with both going over the 30 point mark in the same game for the first time in their Hornets careers. Malik Monk had a game to remember for a multitude of reasons. He earned head coach James Borrego’s trust and got minutes in crunch time, but got the hook after a couple of bad possessions in the first overtime. He was given a chance to redeem himself, and he did, but then he committed a turnover that ultimately lost the game for the visitors.
If it weren’t just the Nets and Hornets, this might go down as the game as the season. Unfortunately the Hornets were on the wrong end of this one, but they get a chance to make amends quickly. The Nets visit Charlotte on Friday night.