The Hornets inched ever closer Tuesday to a playoff berth.
Beating the Brooklyn Nets 105-100 pushed them to 41-30, 11 games above .500 for the first time since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004. This keeps the Hornets squarely in the race for a solid seeding when the Eastern Conference playoffs start next month.
It wasn’t easy after the Nets cut into a double-digit lead in the third quarter to tie the game at Barclays Center. But the Hornets held on, much to the credit of backup point guard Jeremy Lin, who finished with 21 points. Nic Batum scored 23.
New York native Kemba Walker hit two free throws with 39 seconds left to push the Hornets’ lead back to three. Walker hit one of two more attempts with 35 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
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Lin then hit two more free throws with 24 seconds to play.
This was the first of four consecutive road games for the Hornets, who are in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Friday to play the Detroit Pistons, then a Saturday game with the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Three who mattered
Frank Kaminsky: He had 10 points in the first quarter of the rookie’s second NBA start.
Brook Lopez: His nine third-quarter points were key to getting the Nets back into the game.
Lin: He came up big off the bench for the second game in a row.
▪ Both teams’ telecasts featured female color analysts: The Hornets’ Stephanie Ready and the Nets’ Sarah Kustok. This happened once before this season when Ann Meyers broadcast a Phoenix Suns home game.
▪ Hornets power forward Marvin Williams sprained his left ankle late in Monday’s home victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Williams was not able to play in Brooklyn, so Kaminsky got the start.
▪ The Nets got back rookie forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who has been out since December with a fractured right ankle.
▪ Walker continues to lead the NBA in late-and-close scoring (points in the last two minutes of a game within four points) at 80 points. Oklahoma City’s’s Kevin Durant is second at 78.
▪ Center-forward Spencer Hawes played for the first time since injuring his lower back in mid-February.
▪ Cody Zeller’s 14 rebounds against the San Antonio Spurs tied a career high.
▪ Monday’s 23-point comeback was the second-largest in Hornets history, behind 24 down to Milwaukee early in the 2014-15 season.
▪ The Hornets are 5-0 this season in overtime games.
B OFFENSE: Coach Steve Clifford’s big concern was keeping up with Brooklyn’s inside scoring. But at one point in the first half, the Hornets had 22 points in the paint to the Nets’ eight.
B DEFENSE: Brooklyn forward Bojan Bogdanovic had averaged 29 points in his previous three games. The Hornets snuffed him out in the first half.
B+ COACHING: The Hornets have been really good in the second game of back-to-backs this season. That’s a credit to Clifford’s preparation.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell