By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com
Kemba Walker scored 24 points and the Hornets cut a 26-point, first-half deficit to seven points late in the fourth quarter before falling to the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, 101-87, on Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd at Spectrum Center.
Charlotte came out flat in the first half, shooting just 25.5 percent (12-of-47) from the field, including 0-of-7 from outside the arc, and did not get to the free-throw line in the game’s first 21 minutes. As a result, the Hornets found themselves in a 48-22 hole on ESPN. With the national spotlight on, Charlotte closed the first half strong, connecting on 5-of-7 field goals (71.4 percent), including 3-of-4 treys (75.0 percent), and making its only shot from the charity stripe as the Warriors lead was cut to 53-38 at the break. The Hornets continued to battle back in the second half, getting as close to 87-80 late in the fourth but could not get any closer on the way to just their fourth home loss.
Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Kemba Walker gear here)
Kemba Walker scored a team-high 24 points to go with six rebounds, five assists and two steals. This was the 13th 20+ point game of the season for Walker and 201st of his career.
Warriors Player of the Game
With Stephen Curry (ankle) and Draymond Green (shoulder) sidelined, former MVP Kevin Durant scored a game- and season-high 35 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists for his first triple-double of the season and ninth of his career.
Dwight Howard scored 14 points and had six defensive rebounds (seven total), giving him 8,893 career defensive rebounds and moving him into ninth place on the NBA’s all-time leaderboard (Shaquille O’Neal: 8,890)… Nicolas Batum posted 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, including 10 of the Hornets final 12 points in the third quarter… Charlotte had 14 offensive rebounds compared to eight for Golden State, leading to a 15-2 second chance points margin in favor of the Hornets… The Warriors attempted 13 free throws – the lowest number of free throws attempted by a Hornets opponent this season is 11 (at TOR 11/29)… Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas again took over coaching duties for Head Coach Steve Clifford who was out with an illness… Frank Kaminsky (right ankle sprain) and Cody Zeller (left knee strain) left the game with their respective injuries and did not return.
Quote of the Night
“Obviously, with Kevin Durant and Klay (Thompson) – it was hard to stop those guys tonight. I thought we started the game out pretty slow. At the beginning of the second quarter we weren’t getting the ball moving offensively and playing with the right pace. We finally got it going a little bit at the end of the second quarter with some pace. Kemba (Walker) was penetrating and the ball was moving a lot better. That carried on in the third and fourth quarter. Those guys made big plays down in the stretch but to hold that team to 101 points isn’t all bad.” – Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas
The Hornets their third game in a four-game homestand with a 7 p.m. tip on Friday against the Chicago Bulls. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.