It started ugly, but Kemba Walker was eventually able to will his second 3-pointer of the day through the net, breaking Dell Curry’s record of 929 3-pointers made for the Charlotte Hornets.
Overall it was a rough day for the captain, who connected on just six of his 19 shots for 18 points. In a surprising turn of events, the bench was able to pick up the slack. They combined for 45 points, including a career high 15 from Treveon Graham. Nicolas Batum also chipped in with his second straight 20-point performance while Dwight Howard added another double double to his tally with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Hornets unsurprisingly came back to Earth after their historic first quarter against Indiana on Friday. The Suns were able to build a small early lead thanks to some hot shooting, particularly from Dragan Bender and former Hornet Troy Daniels. Fortunately for the Hornets, Nic Batum kept up his hot shooting from Friday, as the Frenchman helped the Hornets keep pace with his 13 first quarter points.
The second quarter got off to an interesting start. The Suns committed five fouls in the first 96 seconds of the second quarter on just two Hornets possessions. Not to be outdone, the Hornets gave the Suns and-one baskets on back to back possessions. The Hornets continued to struggle with their shooting while the Suns missed about zero shots, and the Suns’ lead ballooned to 11 with two minutes left in the half. That proved to be the halftime margin as the Hornets went to the break facing a 59-48 deficit.
Dragan Bender started off the second half with another 3 and TJ Warren followed that with a quick layup in transition to put the Suns up 16. Kemba was finally able to get off the schneid from beyond the arc and tied Dell Curry’s franchise record for 3-pointers made with 10:11 in the quarter.
However, the Hornets continued not guarding the 3-point line, leading to 3-pointers by the Suns on back to back to back possessions. The lead grew all the way to 21 for a time before the Hornets eventually pulled out the ol’ 5-point possession play. Nic Batum knocked down a pair of free throws after a flagrant foul and Kemba knocked down his franchise record 930th career 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 13. The Hornets eventually trimmed the margin to eight by the end of the 3rd quarter.
Four quick points to start the quarter brought the Hornets to within 4. Treveon Graham made a layup and a quick Michael Carter-Williams steal off the inbound led to a Jeremy Lamb layup. Two more Suns turnovers led to an MCW 3-pointer and two MKG free throws, the latter of which put the Hornets in front 95-94. The Hornets started the 4th quarter with a 9-0 run before the Suns even attempted a shot.
The run continued as the Suns continued to turn the ball over and the Hornets continued to capitalize. Cody Zeller made an and-1 layup and the ensuing free throw to put the Hornets up 10 while also knocking Devin Booker out of the game with an apparent rib injury. The Suns were able to cut the deficit to 5 after a couple dunks, forcing Steve Clifford to call timeout. Treveon Graham hit a dagger 3 in the ensuing possession, giving him a career high 15 points and putting the Hornets up 115-107 with just 35 seconds to go. Josh Jackson hit a 3 at the buzzer to set the final score at 115-110.