Kemba’s 41, fast start help Hornets beat Pacers 133-126
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Kemba Walker scored 41 points on 11-for-22 shooting and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Indiana Pacers 133-126 with the help of a record-setting first quarter Friday night.
Buoyed by 16 points from Nicolas Batum, the Hornets scored 49 points in the first, a franchise-best for a quarter. Charlotte connected on 7 of 11 from 3-point range and hit 19 of 23 from the field in that stretch. It marked the highest point total for an NBA team in any quarter this season.
Four other Hornets players scored in double-digits, led by Batum’s 31 points and Dwight Howard’s 12 points and 11 rebounds. Charlotte won its second game in a row.
Victor Oladipo had 35 points for the Pacers, who halted a three-game winning streak. Myles Turner added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.
Charlotte led 49-37 after the first, as the Pacers came within a point of matching the most first-quarter points by a Hornets opponent this season.
The Pacers outscored the Hornets 34-25 in the third quarter, led by 13 points from Oladipo, to narrow Charlotte’s advantage to 96-91. Cory Joseph’s free throws cut Indiana’s deficit to 128-124 with 40 seconds left, but Charlotte hit five free throws after that to ice it.
Pacers: Indiana coach Nate McMillan missed the game for personal reasons. Longtime assistant Dan Burke served as acting head coach. … Center Al Jefferson, who played for Charlotte 2013-16, received a loud ovation when he entered the game at the end of the second quarter.
Hornets: The 49-point first bettered a 47-point fourth quarter Charlotte had on Dec. 4, 1991 against the Los Angeles Lakers. … Batum was 11-of-18 shooting. … C Cody Zeller returned to the lineup after missing 27 games because of left knee surgery to repair torn meniscus. The Hornets were 12-15 without Zeller in that stretch. Zeller totaled five points and three rebounds in 16 minutes. … Marvin Williams missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain. Coach Steve Clifford said Williams is not expected to miss significant time. … Dwight Howard’s 11th consecutive double-double – the longest active streak in the NBA – was his 33rd of the season.
Pacers: Back home Saturday to host Philadelphia for a quick two-game homestand.
Hornets: Travel to Phoenix on Sunday for the first of a four-game West Coast road trip.