Kemba Walker scored 34 points and nabbed 9 rebounds while Cody Zeller scored 18 points and reeled in 9 rebounds of his own, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s woeful shooting as the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Indiana Pacers, 99-90.
The game started well enough for the Hornets. They jumped out to an early 10-4 lead before things went wildly off the rails. The Pacers outscored them 28-9 for the rest of the period. In that time, the Hornets connected on just two of their 12 shot attempts while the Pacers went 11 for 14. After one, the Hornets trailed 32-19.
The Hornets resembled an NBA team in the second quarter, but it still wasn’t pretty. They quickly got behind by 20 points, but they didn’t quit. They slowly chipped away at the lead until it was whittled to twelve, but that’s as close as they could get. The Pacers went (missed) shot for (missed) shot with the Hornets down the stretch. The Hornets trailed 54-38 at the half, scoring just 19 points in each of the first two quarters. They shot 13/42 from the field (31%) and 2/21 from three (9.5%).
A different team came out of the visiting locker room for the second half. They stifled the Pacers with several deflections and crisp rotations; the Pacers scored three points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. On the offensive end, this Hornets team scrapped for offensive rebounds and worked for good shots. A possession in which the Hornets reeled in five offensive rebounds ended with a pair of free throws that got the Hornets within single digits for the first time in over 15 minutes of game time. They still weren’t making shots, but they were able to overcome it with an absurd number of offensive rebounds. The deficit got as small as one near the end of the quarter, but a five point spurt by the Pacers increased their buffer to six heading into the fourth quarter, 77-71. The Hornets only shot 10/28 in the quarter, but 12 offensive rebounds will make up for that.
Some subs came in to start the fourth quarter and the Pacers ate them alive. By the time Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb reentered the game with 7:49 to play, the Hornets’ deficit had ballooned to 13. The insertion of Lamb and Walker helped the Hornets get closer, but they ultimately couldn’t dig the team out of the hole the second unit created. A Marvin Williams 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer drew all backboard- a fitting conclusion to the game.
Walker was able to go over 30 for the fifth consecutive game, tied for the most in franchise history. Jeremy Lamb battled through a poor shooting night to score 21 points. Cody Zeller was the Hornets second best player tonight with 18 points and 9 rebounds (5 offensive).
The Hornets reeled in a season high 21 offensive rebounds but struggled to make much out of them. They finished the game shooting 32.6% from the field and 17.9% from three.
The Hornets have one more chance to build some momentum heading into the All Star break. They visit the Orlando Magic on Thursday before getting a week off.