The game was turned on its head quickly when Kemba Walker was called for his third foul less than six minutes into the game. He was pulled for Devonte’ Graham and stayed on the bench through halftime. His teammates picked up the slack though and stayed step for step with the 76ers. When Kemba took a seat, the Hornets trailed by five. That margin had been trimmed to one by the quarter break, even with J.J. Redick catching fire.
That story held true in the second quarter. Redick kept hitting shots, but the Hornets went shot for shot. At the half, the Hornets trailed 62-59.
Kemba Walker started the second half ready to make up the ground he lost in the first half. He scored 13 points in the period and helped the Hornets jump ahead. After three quarters, the Hornets led 89-85.
The game stayed within a possession or two for just about the entire fourth quarter. Dwayne Bacon attacked the basket well and got to the line a few times. Jeremy Lamb did the same. The Hornets trailed by one late, needing a stop to get a chance to take the lead. Jimmy Butler found James Ennis in the corner for three. The Hornets would not go away quietly, as Jeremy Lamb got fouled shooting a 3-pointer on a busted play. He hit all three free throws with 12 seconds to play. The Hornets almost got a steal on the ensuing inbound, but had to settle for putting Tobias Harris on the line. He hit one free throw, giving the Hornets one more chance, down two with eight seconds to play. Lamb attacked the basket, but his layup painfully rattled out. Harris grabbed the rebound and iced the game with free throws.
The Hornets took the 76ers to the wire for the fourth time as many games, but as has been the case all season, they couldn’t shut the door late. They were outscored by eight points in the final frame. They’re now three games out of the playoffs with the Minnesota Timberwolves coming to town on Thursday.