Knicks Fall to Hornets 111-97

Kemba Walker scored 34 points, Al Jefferson had 24 and the Hornets bounced back from consecutive losses to the Eastern Conference's top teams by beating the Knicks 111-97 on Wednesday night.

Charlotte, which fell in Cleveland on Sunday and Toronto on Tuesday, had dropped a game behind Boston and Miami for fourth place and needed a win to renew its hopes of getting home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Walker scored 13 points in the first quarter — more than he had in the entire game a night earlier — and Jefferson helped Charlotte break it open by scoring 10 points in the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Derrick Williams had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Carmelo Anthony returned from a game off to rest and scored 15 points, but New York remained without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Jose Calderon.

The Hornets were focused on getting off to a better start after trailing by 10 points after the first quarter of the previous two games. They led 30-25 after one, with Walker going 3 for 3 from 3-point range.

It stayed closed for most of the next two periods before Walker sandwiched another 3 in between two baskets by Jefferson in a 7-0 burst that made it 81-70 with a minute to go in the third.

Jefferson's big flurry helped the Hornets push the lead to 18 midway through the final period, and after the Knicks got it back to single digits, Walker put it away with a 3-pointer and three-point play on consecutive possessions.

Rookie Frank Kaminsky, making his third start of the season, finished with 16 points. He was in the lineup with forward Nicolas Batum missing a second straight game with a strained left knee.


Hornets: Former Knicks G Jeremy Lin, battling right elbow bursitis, finished 2 for 9 for six points, making a 3-pointer for the game's final basket. ... Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he hoped Batum could return Friday.

Knicks: Robin Lopez was ejected after picking up two technical fouls for arguing a call with 3:32 remaining. ... Former Knicks coaches Derek Fisher and Isiah Thomas worked together in the studio of NBA TV's "NBA Gametime" on Wednesday. Fisher, fired in February after 1 ½ seasons, also will be an analyst Thursday on TNT's "Inside the NBA" studio show. ... The Knicks have just one home game remaining, hosting Toronto on Sunday night.


Hornets: Host Brooklyn on Friday.

Knicks: Visit Philadelphia on Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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