It’s been over a month since Charlotte has won road win and the four consecutive losses away form the Spectrum Center were beginning to take a toll, but that all changed Sunday night when the Hornets defeated the Suns 119-113 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Despite allowing the Suns to shoot nearly 60% from the floor in the first half, the Hornets trailed by only three points at halftime. But Charlotte came out of the locker room after the break revitalized both defensively and offensively- led by huge outings from Willy Hernangomez and Tony Parker. The team limited the Suns to just 9-24 from the floor, while shooting 55% (11-20) in the 3rd quarter.
Phoenix opened the 4th quarter on a run - closing what was once a four point deficit and even taking a one point lead in late in the period. But Captain Kemba would not be denied - scoring 18 4th quarter points and securing Charlotte’s first road win since December 9th.
“I was struggling all game shooting the basketball,” Walker said after the contest. “But I thought if I get downhill anything is possible. So that’s what I did. I knew I could beat their big with my speed, so I was just trying to get to the basket and make plays and that’s what I was able to do.”
Winning a game like this - which was competitive for all 48 minutes - was important for a Hornets team that has last their share of close ones.
“I think our guys just stuck with it,” Head Coach James Borrego said after the victory. “It’s tough to win on the road in the NBA. I don’t care where you’re at. Phoenix is a very talented group. It wasn’t our best effort defensively, but we didn’t hang our heads when they made a run. We just stuck with it for 48 minutes.”
Charlotte will continue with stop three of their six game road trip Tuesday night in LA. And as the Hornets, who currently hold the last playoff spot, look to remain in post-season contention, Kemba knows winning games like these will be essential.
“This is important. We’ve been struggling on the road. I don’t know the last time we got a road win. So, hopefully this right here can kickstart something for us and we can get more consistent from this point on.”