The Hornets began the first quarter cold and it led to the Blazers starting the game on a 20-5 run. They found their footing at the end of the first, but the Blazers continued to shoot the ball well. After shooting 30.4 percent in the opening frame, the Hornets trailed 29-18 after one quarter.
Charlotte also struggled to start the second quarter. However, the they got back into the game with Kemba Walker leading the way. After trailing by 17 points, they managed to get the deficit down to one. Good shot selection and seeing shots fall late in the first half helped, and In they trailed at the half 50-46, thanks largely to 17 first half points from Walker.
In the second half, the Hornets continued to keep the game close. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took a tough tumble after going for a loose ball against Jusuf Nurkic. He did get up from that to continue to play. Despite trying to keep the game close, Portland tried to pull away with a run to extend their lead to 15 points late in the third.
The final frame began with Frank Kaminsky making a couple of shots. However, the Hornets second unit couldn’t generate enough defensive stops while the Blazers continued to shoot well.
Then, Walker decided to show why he deserved to be an All-Star. He took over in the fourth quarter to force a tie against the Blazers. However, Dwight Howard’s game winning shot attempt was blocked and five more minutes were needed to decide this game.
Walker finished with 40 points, while Kaminsky added 17. Nurkic led the Blazers with 24, while C.J. McCollum finished with 22. Damien Lillard was held to just 18.
In the end, this loss was agonizing for the Hornets. It seems to be the story of the season that the Hornets can’t close games. For some reason, it just hasn’t happened. Charlotte was right there to steal the game, but couldn’t get over the hump. They look to bounce back on Friday night against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on a tough back to back.