Charlotte Hornets

Hornets’ second-half collapse leads to loss to Knicks

James Borrego on close friend David Fizdale

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego on coaching against close friend and New York Knicks coach.
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Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego on coaching against close friend and New York Knicks coach.

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker couldn’t make a heavily-guarded layup off an end-to-end drive, allowing the New York Knicks to win in overtime, 126-124 at Spectrum Center.

The Hornets broke a three-game winning streak, falling to 14-14. They have now lost to the bottom four teams in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Hornets had led this game by as many as 21 points.

The Hornets couldn’t score on a possession down three points in the last minute of overtime. Jeremy Lamb’s layup attempt in traffic fell off the rim and the Knicks took possession with 18.8 seconds left.

Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay (34 points) cut to the basket for an unobstructed path to a layup, off an in-bounds pass from rookie Kevin Knox. That increased the Knicks’ lead to five with 17 seconds left.

Hornets forward Nic Batum (21 points, seven assists and six rebounds) hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left, then Walker took a foul to send Knox to the foul line. Knox missed both.

Mudiay hit a 6-foot fadeaway jump shot with 27.2 seconds left to tie the game at 113-113. The Hornets failed to score off a two-shot possession prior to that sequence.

Walker took a 3-pointer from above the key with eight seconds left. He missed, there was a scramble for the rebound, and the Knicks (9-21) controlled and called timeout with 4.4 seconds left.

Mudiay’s 3-point attempt hit the rim twice before bouncing out to cause overtime.

Three who mattered

Cody Zeller: He finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Mudiay: This is what the Knicks hoped for when they acquired him to firm up their point guard position

Frank Kaminsky: Seems to have firmed his grip on those backup center minutes.

Observations

Knicks coach Dave Fizdale coached Hornets coach James Borrego when Fizdale was an assistant at San Diego and Borrego played there. Fizdale said pre-game Borrego (who didn’t play much in college) was nicknamed “Badger” for his tenacity and toughness.

So here’s a weird one: Now-Los Angeles Laker LeBron James, who makes his only appearance in Charlotte this season on Saturday, has won 26 of his last 27 games against the Hornets. The only one in that span James lost, Walker wasn’t in the lineup. When James’ Cavaliers fell to the Hornets 106-97 on Feb. 3, 2016, Walker sat out the game with a sore knee.

On his 30th birthday, Batum became the fifth player in franchise history to total 400 or more 3-pointers. The others: Walker, Dell Curry, Marvin Williams and Glen Rice.

The Hornets couldn’t have had a much better first half offensively, particularly in hitting 12 of their 20 3-point attempts.

Malik Monk left the game limping in the first half, with a sore right foot. Monk was able to play in the second half.

Worth mentioning

The Hornets got back forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed Wednesday’s victory over the Detroit Pistons for personal reasons.

The Knicks were down to 10 available players to start this game, and then lost reserve Mitchell Robinson with a sprained ankle in the first half.

At halftime, the Hornets honored Muggsy Bogues as part of the 30th-anniversary season celebrations. Bogues, who still lives in Charlotte, teared up during the ceremony.

They said it

“We have to impact the point guards better. Tony (Parker) and Kemba (Walker), they just did anything they wanted to do the last game.” – Fizdale pre-game on what had to change from an easy Sunday night victory for the Hornets in New York.

“I’ve been through a lot in this league. I’ve been part of a 13-win season as an assistant.” – Fizdale on keeping a young Knicks team missing star Kristaps Porzingis focused.

“He’s a competitive spirit, we love having him around, and I think our guys respond very well to that” – Hornets coach James Borrego on owner Michael Jordan sitting courtside the past couple of games.

Report card

C- OFFENSE: Fantastic first-half shooting was negated by a slew of turnovers.

C- DEFENSE: .Gave up far too many shooting fouls

C- COACHING: That’s the fourth loss to a bad Eastern Conference team.



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