Kemba Walker takes charge in overtime, Charlotte Hornets beat San Antonio Spurs

Kemba Walker takes charge in overtime, Charlotte Hornets beat San Antonio Spurs
(Charlotte Hornets)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Rick Bonnell//The Charlotte Observer) - Kemba Walker scored 11 of his 38 points in overtime to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 125-116 home victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

The victory was the Hornets’ fourth in a row, their longest winning streak of the season. They had lost all four of their overtime games this season prior to Tuesday.

Walker finished with 11 assists and nine rebounds.

The Hornets (35-39) swept the season series with the Spurs (43-32), winning in San Antonio on Jan. 14 to break a three-game losing streak. The current four-game winning streak consists of victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.

The Hornets overcame a 30-point game from Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan and a 20-point, 15-rebound effort from LaMarcus Aldridge.

Dwayne Bacon, a recent addition to the Hornets’ starting lineup, finished with 24 points, including a 3-pointer in the overtime.

Aldridge gave the Spurs the lead with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation on a post-up, making up the last of what at one time was a nine-point Hornets lead. DeRozan hit an 18-foot pull-up jump shot with 51 seconds left to break a 104-104 tie.

Walker answered with a layup with 42 seconds left. The teams then traded scoreless possessions.

DeRozan’s jump shot bounced off the front rim at the fourth-quarter buzzer, forcing overtime.

THREE WHO MATTERED

DeRozan: One of the great mid-range scorers left in the NBA.

Bacon: Improving as a 3-point shooter (4-of-7), complementing his ability to drive

Aldridge: He had a double-double headed into the fourth quarter.

OBSERVATIONS

▪ The Hornets got back forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who was in the NBA’s concussion protocol the previous three games after suffering a head injury March 19 against the Philadelphia 76ers. This was the third concussion of his eight-season NBA career. Kidd-Gilchrist did not play Tuesday.

▪ The Hornets played without Nic Batum, who missed his third consecutive game with an illness. Batum said Tuesday morning he’s lost eight pounds since coming down sick before Saturday’s game against the Boston Celtics.

▪ Hornets coach James Borrego said before the game that he planned to continue with rookie Devonte Graham as Kemba Walker’s backup at point guard, despite playing the Spurs, where veteran Tony Parker played all his NBA career until this season. Parker had not played in the four games prior to Tuesday, and while he was technically active, was not on the bench.

▪ The youth movement in the Hornets’ starting lineup performed well first-half: Rookie Miles Bridges and second-year pro Dwayne Bacon combined for 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting.

▪ The Hornets lost Jeremy Lamb to a right ankle sprain in the third quarter.

WORTH MENTIONING

▪ Parker was scheduled to fly to San Antonio on the Spurs’ team plane for Thursday’s jersey retirement for Manu Ginobili. Parker is one of the speakers at that ceremony.

▪ Former Spurs assistant Borrego said pregame he plans to be in San Antonio Thursday night as well for the Ginobili ceremony, before the Hornets start a four-game West Coast road trip.

THEY SAID IT

“I don’t enjoy it, i don’t enjoy it. Not a bit, not a bit.” – Borrego on coaching against the Spurs, the team that gave him his NBA chance and for which he was an assistant in two stints for about a decade.

“We’ll give Devonte a run again tonight, but Tony is staying active and ready.” – Borrego on Parker, who didn’t play in the four games prior to Tuesday.

“Tony is an intelligent guy and he really cares about people. That’s one of the things (Borrego) wanted to get out of him.” – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Parker’s ability to mentor young guards.

REPORT CARD

B OFFENSE: Fast-break points were big, particularly from Bacon.

C+ DEFENSE: They struggled with the rebounding.

B COACHING: It’s no fun competing against your mentor; Popovich promoted Borrego from the film room to the bench and oversaw his career for a decade.