Hey look, we’re back at it with these.
Last we looked back, Devonte’ Graham had just tied the franchise record for 3-pointers made in a game with ten. That game was on December 4th. Just seven days later, Graham exploded again.
The Charlotte Hornets dropped each of their first two games to the Brooklyn Nets. Both games were competitive, but the Hornets faded late each time. They traveled to Brooklyn to face the Nets for the third time in three weeks, looking for their first win.
Devonte’ Graham’s first shot attempt was a 30-footer at the shot clock buzzer that he cashed, which drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd. A couple possessions later, he dribbled around a Bismack Biyombo screen and splashed another three. He didn’t attempt another shot from the field for the rest of the quarter.
The second quarter was as quiet as the latter part of the first. Graham scored six points in the quarter as the Hornets trailed the Nets by as many as 20 points. The Hornets narrowed that margin as the end of the half drew near thanks to a bunch of unforced mistakes by the Nets. At the half, the Hornets trailed by 11. Graham had scored a ho-hum 13 points.
An early mid-range jumper from Graham was followed by a few misses, then Graham went for a dunk attempt but had to settle for a layup. The Hornets hadn’t made a dent in their deficit, and there was no indication that this night was going to be any different than the Hornets’ previous two meetings with the Nets.
Graham got himself into a rhythm with a couple trips to the free throw line, both times via James Harden-esque rip-throughs while driving to the basket. That paid off as Graham canned a couple of triples, which combined with a couple of 3-pointers by Miles Bridges to cut the Hornets deficit all the way down to two. On the other end of the floor, the Hornets had switched to a zone defense that completely disrupted the Nets offense.
The Hornets took the lead for the first time in a month of Sundays with another Graham 3-pointer off a Biyombo screen. Graham hit 3-pointer number six (and points 31, 32, and 33) as Taurean Prince fell helplessly to the floor behind him. He tied his career high with a pair of free throws that put the Hornets up 106-101 with about two minutes to go. The Nets quickly tied the game with a Joe Harris 3-point and Spencer Dinwiddie layup with just over a minute left to play.
The Hornets put the ball into Devonte’ Graham’s hands coming out of a timeout. He coolly dirbbled the shot clock down then drilled a step back jumper with his toe on the 3-point line with Garrett Temple all over him. After a Nets miss, the Hornets had a chance to ice the game, and Devonte’ stepped up once again.
Devonte Graham just dropped 40— Fredo (@goknickstape) December 12, 2019
He’s averaging 19 and 7 this season pic.twitter.com/WMbp6E2gCZ
Free throws from both teams set the final score.
The 40 points Graham scored against the Nets is the best point performance by a Hornet this season and still sits as his career high.
11 days later, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie had high praise for the Hornets sophomore guard.
Appreciate the love but Graham should be MIP.— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) December 23, 2019
Methinks the 40 points Graham dropped on Dinwiddie’s Nets influenced this Tweet (MIP is Most Improved Player for those that don’t know).
I can’t say we disagree, Spencer.