Walker leads Hornets to 120-116 OT win over Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Trailing by 15 points after the third quarter, the Charlotte Hornets figured their chances were slim with Kemba Walker on the floor, and perhaps none without him.

Walker played the entire fourth quarter and overtime, finishing with 40 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals to help the Hornets rally for a 120-116 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

“He came over and said leave me in there,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. “That was the best decision we made.”

 Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) cannot make a shot as he is defended by Charlotte Hornets' Spencer Hawes (00) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Hornets needed every bit of Walker’s production to overcome a 19-point deficit and win their first road game in six weeks.

Spencer Hawes made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17 seconds left in overtime, and Walker finished it with a couple of free throws.

“You are never out of a game, not in this league,” Walker said. “I just didn’t want to come out. I wanted to give a second effort, push the pace, push my teammates to try and get a win. We needed this win desperately and we got it.”

Victor Oladipo scored 29 points for the Magic, who have lost five straight and nine of 10.

In breaking a 10-game road losing streak, the injury-riddled Hornets overcame the big deficit in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Magic 22-3 over a seven-minute stretch. Oladipo then hit a tying 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left.

Walker scored 13 points in the fourth quarter rally, including Charlotte’s final six points of regulation, then opened the overtime scoring with a layup.

Oladipo and Tobias Harris combined for 24 of the Magic’s 33 points in the third quarter, during which they pushed their lead to 19 points.

“We kept chipping away,” Walker said. “I knew if we kept getting stops and pushed the pace, we could get them. This is just a great win.”

Oladipo, who had missed the previous two games with a sprained right knee, hit four of five 3-point shots in the third quarter. But the Magic shot 5 for 19 with nine turnovers in the fourth period.

“In basically our last 20 possessions, we took a bad shots or turned the ball over,” lamented Magic coach Scott Skiles. “Kemba pretty much went by us at will.”


Skiles’ reaction to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ firing of coach David Blatt: “You used to at least have to lose games before you got fired. Nowadays you can be coach of the year and get fired.” Clifford said: “He just won last night by double digits against a really good team (Los Angeles Clippers). I don’t think you’re ever shocked, but it’s certainly surprising.”


Hornets: Nicolas Batum (toe sprain) and Cody Zeller did not play. Zeller will have an MRI taken on his right shoulder Saturday. … Jeremy Lamb, who had missed four games with a sprained right toe, played only four minutes. … Walker is averaging 24.4 points since Christmas, tops among Eastern Conference players. … Brian Roberts and Troy Daniels also played the final 17 minutes.

Magic: Forward Aaron Gordon, starting his first game of the season, went to the bench with three fouls after the first four minutes. He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.


Hornets: Host New York on Saturday

Magic: At Memphis on Monday.