CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Knicks point guard Kemba Walker was feeling his oats and turning back the clock in the first half Friday night in his old stomping grounds.
Charlotte’s franchise leader in scoring was able to make 3-pointers with great success and get up the rim for the first season.
Yet his most daring play came when he inbounded the ball off Hornets center Mason Plumlee’s back in the first period. Walker took the carom, and put it up. Mitchell Robinson, the center of the team was present for the throw down dunk. This was a sign of how at home Walker feels.
Walker scored 20 points in just 17 minutes before halftime, going 7-12 from the field, and that was before things got ugly. In the second half, Walker only scored six points and did not regain his spark. After finishing the game with 26 points, he shot 9-for-19 (including 3-pointers) from the field. Additionally, he had 2 turnovers and was the worst player on the team with a minus-23.
“I was just taking what the game gave me,” Walker said of his early hot hand. “I was open on the shots I took. And they were just falling early on.”
Walker was quick out of the gates, making two consecutive 3-pointers as well as a floater within the first two minutes. Walker finished the 4:22 half with 11 points, after not having scored double figures in his previous four games.
Walker scored 20 points at halftime, after having scored 19 in each of his previous four games.
It was no use as he was barely recognisable in his black mask and purple hat when he entered interview room.
After having surrendered the most in the NBA to the Knicks, they were struggling to protect the 3-point line.
Tom Thibodeau, Coach of the Hornets, said that they had improved. However the Hornets began draining them after being 2-for-17 the previous half. Charlotte finished at 10-for-26 (27.8 percent).
Thibodeau said beforehand he’s more concerned with overall field-goal percentage since the Knicks scheme is to pack the paint.
Center Mitchell Robinson appeared to hurt his ankle in the first half and didn’t seem to go at full throttle.
Robinson was retaped as he left the court for the locker area. Thibodeau was informed that he could return in and Mitchell played for 23 minutes, scoring 11 points, six rebounds, and one block.
Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, the 2021 Rookie of the Year, didn’t shoot well (4-for-13), but notched 12 points with nine assists and five steals.