Charlotte Hornets

Third-quarter comeback gives Hornets huge win over the Spurs

rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The streak is over, thanks to Jeremy Lin.

The Charlotte Hornets had lost 10 in a row to the San Antonio Spurs and trailed Monday by as many as 23 points.

Then Lin happened. He scored 29 points off the bench, including two key free throws with 18.3 seconds left for a 91-88 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Hornets (40-30) had trailed 30-7 in the first quarter. But they crept back in this game in the third quarter when the Spurs (59-11) got sloppy with the ball. They committed seven turnovers that period.

In the last few seconds of the game, Spurs Tony Parker and Danny Green missed 3-pointers that would have tied the score. Charlotte’s Courtney Lee intercepted an in-bounds pass with four-tenths of a second left to secure the victory.

Three who mattered

Tony Parker: He outscored the Hornets in the first quarter 12-7.

Courtney Lee: His 13 third-quarter points trimmed the deficit to single digits.

Tim Duncan: He outplayed both Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson.

Observations

▪ Spurs center (and former Wake Forest star) Duncan returned to the starting lineup after playing off the bench Saturday versus the Golden State Warriors.

Hornets forward Nic Batum on Jeremy Lin and beating the Spurs.

▪ The Hornets’ Nic Batum and Spurs’ Tony Parker had a long pregame chat. They play together summers for the French national team.

▪ Jeremy Lamb played for the first time in five games, taking back the minutes he lost to Troy Daniels.

▪ The Hornets’ 3-point shooting really deserted them in the first half, 1-of-10.

▪ Power forward Marvin Williams sprained his left ankle late in the game. He indicated he should be OK to play at Brooklyn on Tuesday.

▪ Ex-Charlotte Bobcat Boris Diaw heard a smattering of boos when he entered the game for the Spurs.

Worth mentioning

▪ The game was televised nationally on NBATV.

▪ The Hornets committed nine first-half turnovers, five by Batum.

▪ The Hornets scored nine fast-break points in the first half, compared to the Spurs’ two.

They said it

“You’re looking at three Hall of Famers and a guy who might be third or fourth in the MVP voting in (LaMarcus) Aldridge. It starts with the having the right attitude of competing.” – Clifford on the challenge of beating the Spurs.

“To come out here and get this won is a huge boost for us. But we have got to come out and take care of business tomorrow (in Brooklyn).” – Lin.

Hornets guard Jeremy Lin on Monday's victory over the Spurs.

“In the second quarter I thought out second unit was basically out to lunch. They stopped moving the ball, it was one-on-one, turnovers gave up 29 points in the quarter That sealed the fate right there.” – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on the game’s turning point.

Report card

C OFFENSE: They failed to reach 40 points in the first half.

B DEFENSE: They pestered the Spurs into seven third-quarter turnovers.

B+ COACHING: Bad as the first quarter got, the Hornets didn’t quit on themselves.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

 
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