Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker breaks Hornets all-time scoring record; Cavs, LeBron James dominate game

Kemba Walker becomes Charlotte Hornets' all-time leader in points

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker became the team's all-time leader in points scored on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Walker finished with 21 points.
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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker became the team's all-time leader in points scored on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Walker finished with 21 points.

Kemba Walker closed the deal Wednesday, but his team couldn’t against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Point guard Walker hit a layup in the closing seconds of a 118-105 loss to the Cavs to break Dell Curry’s all-time scoring record. Walker finished with 21 points, one more than he needed to top Curry’s 9,389 points.

Walker was hugged by Cavs superstar LeBron James (41 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) following the game.

“I’m not supposed to be here. A lot of people where I’m from (New York City) don’t make it,” Walker said following the game, after crying as he was presented the ball. “This was a long ride, and I’m glad I made it.

“I want to be as good as I can. They say you can’t get better as you get older, but that’s not true.”

Walker struggled initially, missing seven of his first eight shots. He finished 7-of-18 from the field.

The Hornets entered this game on a four-game winning streak, all four victories over teams that will miss the playoffs.

Three who mattered

James: When he is making 3-pointers well above the key, there is no practical way to guard him without just making things worse.

J.R. Smith: Cleveland veteran guard was easily the best bench player for either team.

Dwight Howard: You can’t say he’s cruising through games without stakes to end the season. He finished Wednesday with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

LeBron James tied Michael Jordan’s 866-game record of scoring at least 10 points in Cleveland’s Wednesday night win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Observations

▪  The Hornets were at risk of losing their best defensive option versus James Wednesday, when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist missed morning shootaround with a case of food poisoning. Kidd-Gilchrist was able to recover in time to play Wednesday, but picked up two fouls in the game’s first three minutes guarding James.

▪  The Cavs replaced two starters Wednesday, one due to injury, the other by coach’s choice: Kevin Love missed the game in concussion protocol, after being elbowed in the face Tuesday night playing the Miami Heat. Tristan Thompson started in Love’s place. Also, the Cavs started former Duke star Rodney Hood, replacing Jose Calderon.

▪  Hornets guard Nic Batum started his second consecutive game, after a layoff with Achilles tendinitis. He is still playing on a minutes restriction, according to coach Steve Clifford.

▪  James tied now-Hornets owner Michael Jordan for most consecutive regular-season games scoring 10 or more points (866) in the first half.

▪  Walker is now the Hornets career leader in free throws made and also set a record for consecutive free throws, resetting his own record shared with D.J. Augustin of 43.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Hornet are down to two home games, both matinees the next two Sundays.

▪  Reserve Hornets center Willy Hernangomez didn’t get much time, with the Cavaliers going small in their frontcourt.

▪  One of the things the Cavaliers did particularly well Wednesday was getting out on the break They had 15 transition points in the first three quarters.

Report card

DOFFENSE: Bad 3-point shooting really hurt the floor balance

C-DEFENSE: Kidd-Gilchrist’s quick foul trouble put an extra burden on the Hornets, but that doesn’t explain away all the cutters and points in the lane.

C-COACHING: The Hornets obviously don’t have the Cavs’ talent, but they also didn’t look like the fresher team, after Cleveland lost in Miami Tuesday.

Cavaliers 118, Hornets 105

CLEVELAND (118)—James 14-26 9-11 41, Green 6-15 5-5 18, Thompson 1-2 0-0 2, Hood 5-12 1-2 13, Hill 4-13 0-0 9, Osman 1-2 0-0 3, Nance Jr. 2-5 0-0 4, Zizic 0-0 0-0 0, Calderon 2-2 0-0 4, Perrantes 0-1 0-0 0, Holland 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 8-9 2-2 19, Clarkson 2-6 0-0 5. Totals 45-93 17-20 118.

CHARLOTTE (105)—Kidd-Gilchrist 5-7 1-2 11, Williams 0-4 6-6 6, Howard 7-12 5-5 19, Walker 7-18 5-5 21, Batum 2-5 2-2 6, Bacon 3-7 0-0 6, Kaminsky 7-9 1-2 16, Hernangomez 0-0 0-0 0, Monk 3-6 0-0 7, Lamb 4-6 2-2 11, Graham 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 39-76 22-24 105.

Cleveland

22

42

31

23

118

Charlotte

26

28

24

27

105

3-Point Goals—Cleveland 11-28 (James 4-8, Hood 2-4, Osman 1-2, Smith 1-2, Clarkson 1-3, Green 1-4, Hill 1-5), Charlotte 5-21 (Walker 2-8, Kaminsky 1-1, Monk 1-3, Lamb 1-3, Bacon 0-2, Batum 0-2, Williams 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Cleveland 38 (James 10), Charlotte 40 (Howard 10). Assists—Cleveland 22 (James 8), Charlotte 20 (Batum 5). Total Fouls—Cleveland 19, Charlotte 16. Technicals—Charlotte coach Hornets (Defensive three second). A—19,474 (19,077).

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