• 68°

Walker powers Hornets past Spurs in OT

Near triple-double for Walker in Charlotte win

Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (15) drives past San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

By Steve Reed

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Kemba Walker may be a three-time All-Star, but he’s not having any problem playing with young players like Dwayne Bacon and Miles Bridges as the Charlotte Hornets enter the homestretch of the season.

In fact, he’s embracing the opportunity, even feeding off them.

“Man, they play hard. They have great energy,” Walker said. “I don’t know if I can keep up with them, to tell you the truth. They are out there moving so fast. It’s the future of this organization and I’m trying my best to be the best leader I can be for those guys. When adversity hits, these guys they are looking at me.”

They looked at Walker on Tuesday night in overtime and he responded in a big way.

Walker scored 11 of his 38 points in the extra period to lead the Hornets to their season-high fourth straight win, 125-116 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Walker scored Charlotte’s first seven points in the extra period, and went 4 of 4 from the field with a pair of clutch 3s. He barely missed his third career triple-double, finishing with 11 assists and nine rebounds as Charlotte won its first overtime game in five tries.

Hornets coach James Borrego said Walker loves to hang around with the young guys off the court, calling him a “kid at heart, too.”

He said Walker’s trust in the young players has elevated the play of the entire team. That showed in overtime when Walker, exhausted from his extensive effort to start the extra period, deferred to Bacon, who made a big 3-pointer to push the lead to seven.

“When you get a young guy out there with All-Stars sometimes it takes a while to trust,” Borrego said. “But there was immediate trust with Kemba and I think the young guys felt that and they have responded to it.”

Said Walker: “These guys are growing up right before our eyes.”

Bacon and Bridges certainly are.

Bacon established a career-high for the second straight game, pouring in 24 points with four 3-pointers. Bridges had 10 points early on and a key block in overtime. Devonte Graham is playing well behind Walker.

Frank Kaminsky, once an afterthought on the roster, is stepping up, too, adding 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Hornets, who pulled within a 1½ games of the Orlando Magic in the battle for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Orlando beat Miami on Tuesday night.

DeMar DeRozan had 30 points to lead the Spurs, but missed a jumper at the end of regulation that would have won the game. LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

The Spurs entered the game tied with Oklahoma City for the seventh-best record in the West.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said lack of consistency on the road — particularly on defense — has become a problem.

“We just don’t play the same defense a lot of the time, we are not consistent defensively,” Popovich said. “If a team scores 120 points when we are on the road it is going to be hard for us to win a game.”

•••

The Hornets’ Jeremy Lamb, who hit a game-winning, half-court shot to beat Toronto on Sunday night, left the game with a sprained right ankle in the third quarter and did not return. He walked out of the locker room after the game without a limp and the injury did not appear to be serious. … Nic Batum (illness) did not play.

PARKER SITS AGAIN

Tony Parker was active for the game, but did not sit on the Hornets bench against his former team. He hasn’t played in the last five games as Borrego has gone with youth.

Parker declined interview requests after the game.

“We are going with these young guys right now,” Borrego said. “Devonte (Graham) is playing well right now, and Tony is on board. He’s staying ready.”

The Spurs are likely to see more zone defenses moving forward.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Host Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Hornets: Visit Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

Business

In lieu of annual festival, New Sarum turns Cheerwine beer release into celebration

Education

RSS says federal money won’t be long-term solution for staff pay

China Grove

Main Street Marketplace combines local ingredients, community with farm-to-table dinner

Business

Business roundup: New managing director takes helm at Piedmont Players Theatre

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cases continue decline as week brings 12 new deaths

News

Letter: Privileged to work where artists are valued

Brincefield Cartoons

Mook’s Place: COVID-19

Lifestyle

Library notes: New podcast coming in October

Lifestyle

In ‘This is Salisbury,’ Manier paints people who make city a better place to live

Lifestyle

Stokes earns best in show at Carolina Artists Guild’s Expo

Education

Livingstone College passes goal for UNCF kickoff

News

Commissioners to consider tax incentives for developer planning 63,000-square-foot facility in southern Rowan

Local

OctoberTour will return to in-person tours, require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests

Business

Keepin it poppin’: The Old 97 Kettlecorn Company adapts during pandemic, earns honor

East Spencer

East Spencer mayor says board knew about new administrator’s sexual battery charge before hiring

College

College football: Catawba holds on for 3-0 start

Business

Salisbury-based Lutheran Services Carolinas expands refugee program

Nation/World

Trailblazing tourist trip to orbit ends with splashdown

Nation/World

One stunning afternoon: Setbacks imperil Biden’s reset

Crime

Defense witness gives tearful account of deadly shooting in Fishzilla murder trial

News Main

High school football: Hornets easily handle unbeaten Thomasville; North, Davie also romp

Elections

Judges strike down state’s voter ID law

Crime

Jury finds Robert Durst guilty of best friend’s murder

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald ends release appeal from infamous 1970 slayings