Kemba Walker scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth-quarter, Marco Belinelli exploded for 21 points off the bench, and the Hornets kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 110-106 win in Toronto last night. Charlotte ended the Raptors six-game winning streak, as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning in the top-four of the East.
Go ahead, revel in the glory of Kemba being Kemba late in the 4th last night.
— Spencer Percy (@QCHspencer) March 30, 2017
Charlotte had a respectable defensive game, and competed at a level that gave them a chance to win this game. In the end, though, the story was a 44-point offensive out-of-body experience for the Hornets in the final quarter. A shooting clinic of 14-18 (78%) from the floor and 8-10 (80%) from behind the arc, combined with just one turnover, propelled the Hornets. The outburst was spearheaded by Kemba / Belinelli drive-and-kick action, and Marvin Williams capitalized on all three of his open looks from deep in the last quarter.
DeMar DeRozan and Cory Joseph combined for 46 points, and did all they could to carry the Raps to a win, but the bench production was the difference. The Hornets bench, led by Belinelli (21 points) and Kaminsky (13 points), outscored Toronto’s second-unit 52-28, and it proved to be too much for the Raps to overcome.
The win gets Charlotte to 34-41 on the season, but the team remains three games back of the 8th spot in the East, as Miami won again last night. This was an extremely impressive win for the Hornets, and as exciting of a late season game that any fan could ask for, but the teams playoff hopes remain slim. The one ray of sunshine for Charlotte’s chances is that they could potentially have the tie-breaker against both Miami and Indiana, who are currently tied for the final playoff position in the East. The Hornets split the season series with the Pacers, but Charlotte has the better division record, so they get the nod there. If the Hornets beat Miami in Charlotte next Wednesday, then they will take the season series 3-1. Irregardless, Charlotte will need a lot of help.
The Hornets return home tomorrow night to take on Denver, who is fighting for the final playoff spot in the West, and the right to get swept by Golden State.