Ex-UConn great Walker scores 52 to lift Hornets in 2OT
Charlotte, N.C. — The longer the game went, the more Kemba Walker kept piling up the points.
Walker wound up scoring a franchise-record 52, starting fast from the field in the first quarter and then closing it out from the foul line in the second overtime as the Charlotte Hornets beat the Utah Jazz 124-119 Monday.
A few minutes into the game, Hornets forward Marvin Williams had an inkling Walker was on the verge of something big.
"Marvin told me, 'You're going to get a 50 ball tonight,'" said Walker, the former UConn All-American. "I didn't pay no attention actually until he told me again after the game. He was right. He called it."
Walker made 16 of 34 shots from the field, including 6 of 11 3-pointers. He was 14 of 15 on free throws in breaking the team mark of 48 points set by Glen Rice on March 6, 1997, in an overtime win against Boston.
"I just tried to make the best plays possible. When I had my shot, I tried to be aggressive, take them and make them," he said.
Walker's previous career best was 42 points, set in a Dec. 27, 2014, loss to Orlando.
Walker scored 18 points in the first quarter, hitting three 3s. His foul shooting in the finals of double overtime helped seal the win. He also finished with nine rebounds and eight assists.
Williams added 19 points, Frank Kaminsky scored 17, Cody Zeller 14 and Nicholas Batum 10 for the Hornets, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Charlotte, which had lost nine of its last 10, needed a big day from Walker to overcome Utah, which rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter.
Gordon Hayward scored 36 points, Trey Burke added 25 and Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Jazz, who trailed 65-50 with 6:11 remaining in the third quarter.
But Utah rallied, twice taking two-point leads in the fourth quarter, the last at 90-88 with 2:43 left on Rodney Hood's jumper. Burke's 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds left made it 95-all and forced overtime.
After going up 101-98 midway through the first overtime, the Jazz had to rally again. Gobert's dunk with 7.4 seconds left tied the game at 108 and sent the game to a second overtime.
Williams' 3-pointer with 4:11 left in the second OT put the Hornets ahead to stay. Zeller and Walker went 6 of 6 from the free throw over the final 11.1 seconds clinched it.
"When you get it going like that, the basket gets awful big," Utah coach Quin Snyder said. "We did a better job on him as the game went on, but he's one of those guys that even if you are doing a good job on him, he's capable of scoring. He had a big night, obviously."
Stories that may interest you
The New York Yankees have honored former reliever Mariano Rivera with a celebration before their game against Cleveland
Eduardo Rodríguez pitched 7 1/3 stellar innings, red-hot Rafael Devers belted a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory
Jacob deGrom pitched seven sharp innings and Pete Alonso put the New York Mets ahead with a two-run single in a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Jarrett Stidham threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Damoun Patterson with 4:12 left, rallying the New England Patriots to a 22-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans