Charlotte Hornets

Walker’s Heroics Not Enough to Ring in New Year with a Win

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com

Result

Kemba Walker scored a game-high 37 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Hornets to ring in the New Year with a victory over the defending NBA Champion Cavaliers on Dec. 31 in Charlotte as they fell to Cleveland, 121-109, at Spectrum Center.

Turning Point

Trailing 35-28 at the end of the first quarter, the Hornets had a chance to close the gap on the Cavs to start the second with All-Star LeBron James on the sidelines for his longest rest of the contest. Instead of taking advantage of James’ break, Charlotte saw Cleveland expand its lead to as many as 19 points, and by the time James checked back in at the 7:05 mark of the second, the Cavs held a 51-37 advantage. In the five-minute stretch with James on the bench, Cleveland connected on 6-of-8 field goals, including 2-of-3 from long range and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line while Charlotte went cold from the field, making just 2-of-9 attempts, including 1-of-5 treys. The Hornets would slice the lead to single digits multiple times but were never able to get any closer than six points the rest of the way.

Hornets Player of the Game

Kemba Walker’s game-high 37 points marked his 23rd outing with 20+points this season and fourth game with 30+points. Walker added five rebounds and five assists, giving him his seventh 35-point, five-rebound and five-assist game in his career. All other Charlotte players in franchise history have combined for 10 such outings. How 13 field goals made were a season high.

Cavs Player of the Game

LeBron James continued to show why he’s one of the top players in the game, finishing with 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting to go with nine assists, six rebounds and one steal. It was James’ seventh 30+point game of the season.

Game Notes

Kemba Walker had 15 points in the second quarter, his 19th double-figure scoring quarter of the season and a Hornets second quarter season-high (previously, 10, Marco Belinelli at CLE 12/10)… Walker then had 14 points in the third quarter, his 20th 10-plus double-figure quarter outing of the season… Frank Kaminsky had a 15-point contest, his 17th double-figure scoring performance on the year… Charlotte outscored Cleveland 16-10 in second chance points… The Hornets bench outscored Cleveland’s 31-26… Tonight marked the Hornets fifth sellout of the season and fourth-straight… The Cavaliers notched 12 three-pointers in the first half, their fifth half this season with 10-plus threes… Cleveland only turned the ball over six times, tying its season low of six vs. ATL on 11/8… Kevin Love (28) and LeBron James (32) combined for 60 of Cleveland’s 121 points… Love totaled his 20th double-double of the season with 28 points and 10 boards… Jordan McRae had a season-high 20 points (previously, nine, three times), starting in place of the injured Kyrie Irving (hamstring).

Quote of the Night

“So tonight, really what you saw was, again, like when people are talking about the new NBA, and the fact that offenses are up and three-point attempts are up and that’s what you saw. You have to be able to guard the ball. You have to be able to keep the ball out of the paint without fouling and then in the pick-and-roll, you’ve got to have clean coverage to have a chance, especially against guys like him [LeBron James]. And we were not locked into that.” – Head Coach Steve Clifford

Quote of the Night


“So tonight, really what you saw was, again, like when people are talking about the new NBA, and the fact that offenses are up and three-point attempts are up and that’s what you saw. You have to be able to guard the ball. You have to be able to keep the ball out of the paint without fouling and then in the pick-and-roll, you’ve got to have clean coverage to have a chance, especially against guys like him [LeBron James]. And we were not locked into that.” – Head Coach Steve Clifford

Next Up

The Hornets head to Chicago for an 8:00 p.m. tip on Monday, Jan. 2 against the Bulls. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.


next up

Monday Jan 2 – 8:00 pmUnited Center, Chicago, IL

Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte Hornets App & WFNZ 610 AM

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