Malik Monk scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter and was one of four reserves to score in double figures as the Charlotte Hornets beat the New York Knicks 101-92.
The Hornets started a bit sluggishly. An early lead gave way to a 7-0 Knicks run, prompting a James Borrego timeout. The Hornets responded by outscoring the Knicks 21-12 for the rest of the quarter. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Willy Hernangomez dominated the offensive glass in the period and played a large part in the Hornets capturing the lead.
The Hornets grew their lead as large as ten before the cold spell started. The Hornets only scored 10 points in the final seven minutes of the half. The offense looked disjointed and lacked urgency. The Knicks capitalized and briefly took the lead, but a Tony Parker 3-pointer put the Hornets back on top heading into the half. At the break, Parker led the team with 12 points while Hernangomez chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds (five offensive).
The cold spell worsened at the beginning of the second half. The Hornets made just two of their twelve shot attempts in the first six minutes of the third quarter. The offense was so anemic that James Borrego subbed Tony Parker in for Jeremy Lamb just two and half minutes into the frame. Miles Bridges woke the Hornets up with a spurt of good play. He made a dunk off a well designed inbounds play and drew a foul in transition after an impressive defensive stop. For all the Hornets offensive struggles, they held up on the defensive end. The Knicks won the third quarter 18-17, setting the stage for the fourth quarter with the score tied at 71.
Jeremy Lamb started the fourth quarter with a tough floater. A pair of Kemba Walker free throws and a pair of Malik Monk 3-pointers made up an 8-0 run that put the Hornets up six with just over nine minutes to go. A Knicks timeout did nothing stem the tide. A highlight worthy step back Walker 3-pointer and a third Monk catch-and-shoot three extended the Hornets scoring run to 12-0, prompting another David Fizdale timeout. The Knicks tried to make a late push, but it never amounted to anything.
The play of the bench decided the game. All five reserves that got into the game shined at one point another. Even Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was limited to just 10 minutes of action because of foul trouble, made an impact while he was on the court. Malik Monk hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, Miles Bridges sparked a run with a couple of energy plays, Tony Parker held the ship steady when the rest of the team was struggling, and Willy Hernangomez dominated the interior on the offensive end. The average plus/minus of the bench players was +11.
Up next for the Hornets is a difficult road game against the Boston Celtics.