Nic Batum banked in a shot with 13 seconds left and made two more free throws, giving the Charlotte Hornets a 117-113 victory Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers at Spectrum Center.
The Hornets, who trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half, got back in the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 35-23 behind guard Kemba Walker’s 15 points.
Walker’s 28 total points led the Hornets, and Batum added 23 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.
Charlotte (16-13) remained in first place in the NBA Southeast Division with the victory.
The Lakers came out hot, jumping to a 61-42 lead in the second quarter. Los Angeles cooled off during the second half. The Lakers had a chance to retake the lead after Batum’s late basket, but a 3-pointer by Nick Young missed. Batum was fouled on the Hornets’ final possession and his two free throws gave Charlotte its final margin.
After coach Steve Clifford called a timeout early in the third quarter, the Hornets went on a 15-0 run in the third quarter to cut into the Lakers’ lead. But Charlotte trailed 111-105 when Lou Young hit three free throws with 5 minutes, 23 seconds left. But two 3-pointers by Marco Belinelli keyed a late rally. The second 3-pointer tied it at 113-113 with 2:23 left. After three empty possessions by both teams, Batum’s drive (after Walker rebounded his own missed 3-pointer) gave the Hornets their winning points.
Three who mattered
Walker: Led Hornets with 28 points, including 15 in the third quarter. He also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Batum: Clutch performance, his final four points were decisive for the Hornets
Jordan Clarkson: Lakers reserve guard made his first five 3-pointers before finally missing, had 17 points at halftime.
▪ Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram, a native of Kinston who played at Duke, had several hundred fans from his hometown in attendance.
▪ A moment of silence was observed before the game for Craig Sager, TNT’s NBA sideline reporter who died last week.
▪ It’s not often that a team shoots 61.9 percent but still trails by six at the end of a quarter. That’s what happened to the Hornets during the first quarter. Charlotte made 13 of 21 shots, but trailed 41-35 after 12 minutes. The reason? The Lakers made 57.1 percent and made seven of 10 3-pointers.
▪ The Hornets missed six shots during one fourth-quarter possession. That helped their offensive rebounding statistics, at least.
▪ Not only did the Lakers shoot it well during the first half, but they outrebounded the Hornets 21-12 on their way to a 14-point lead.
▪ The Lakers spent two days in Charlotte after playing in Cleveland on Saturday. Coach Luke Walton said that gave his team a good rest in the middle of what is a seven-game, 12-day road trip. That was apparent during the first half as the Lakers ran out to their big lead.
They said it
“They’re not going to fold. There’s a reason they’ve had succes the past couple of years.” — Lakers coach Luke Walton on the Hornets.
“I think tonight was our worst game defensively.” — Belinelli.
“We have to better; we can’t afford to start out games like this.” — Walker.
A- OFFENSE: Scored 59 points during first half and put together 15 consecutive points during third quarter.
C- DEFENSE: Not much good to say when the opposition scores 73 points during the first half, making 58 percent of its shots and 12 of 18 from 3-point range. Better second-half effort, however.
B COACHING: Team wasn’t ready to play in first half, but buttons were pushed in the second half.