The Charlotte Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins 129-128 in a double overtime game behind mostly Troy Daniels, Jeremy Lin and Marvin Williams, while Kemba Walker had another one of those disastrous shooting nights that almost cost the team a game.
Bottom line? The Hornets, without Cody Zeller and Nicolas Batum and with guys like Spencer Hawes and P.J. Hairston in the lineup, manage to pick up a third straight win, improving to 5-0 in overtimes this season and also not let a 56-point performance from Cousins ruin their night, finishing it with a Lin assist to Daniels, hitting a 3-pointer that won the game.
Daniels is the biggest surprise of the night; a good shooter that doesn’t get too many minutes this season, but finished with 28 points in the win while hitting 8-of-11 from beyond the arc. This was the second time in three games he got plenty of minutes (32 in the win over Orlando, 31 against Sacramento) and once again delivered. He scored 17 points vs the Magic, and his performance might suggest that the Hornets shouldn’t be too eager to get the inconsistent and rather bland Jeremy Lamb back.
Lin? He had a great game in terms of scoring up to the beginning of the fourth quarter. His presence brought the Hornets back into the game in the second quarter and helped open up the lead. He played great defense in a team-high 50 minutes, as it seems Steve Clifford is realizing who is the most important player on his team at the moment, even if it came by forced circumstances. But with Lin this season under Clifford, good things come to an end at unexpected ways.
Maybe it was Walker decided he hasn’t had enough isolation plays, or maybe it’s Clifford ordering things from the sidelines. Lin was once again stuck without the ball for much of the fourth quarter and overtimes, as the Hornets lost a nice lead and were forced to win on a shot with nine seconds to go. Lin inbounded the ball to Daniels who didn’t wait much, and simply pulled up for a big three with Ben McLemore sort of disturbing him. Cousins fouled out on the previous play, as both teams struggled scoring in the second overtime.
Walker actually had a chance to win the game in the first overtime. With a final possession and the team down by one point, it went to a Walker special: Lowering his head and running into the defense. He somehow got a foul in his favor with 0.6 seconds on the clock. Made one shot, missed the second. He finished the game shooting 5-of-25 from the field for 24 points (13 from the line), 8 assists and 4 steals. In the last two games Walker is shooting 24% from the field, which isn’t stopping him from taking 25 shots in each game.
Lin scored 20 points on 8-of-19 from the field to go with 11 assists that could have easily been 15 or more, matching up nicely with Rajon Rondo who had 20 assists and 10 rebounds but didn’t have an impact defensively and scored just 7 points. He continues to be the driving force behind the good minutes the Hornets have, with hardly any rest on this occasion, which is something he needs to get used to while he’s in the lineup.
The Hornets do have one day of resting before taking on the Utah Jazz in the next step on their West Coast tour, which might mean that this 58-minute exhausting game won’t have too much of a devastating effect. Either way, it’s three straight wins for the Hornets, despite the insistence of Clifford/Walker to dumb down the basketball to annoying levels, instead of sticking to smart, mostly fast and pass-oriented basketball that usually works well for them.