NBA: Walker pours in 31 as Hornets down Wolves


Posted at Mar 22 2019 10:07 AM

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) drives in as he is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones (1) during the second half at the Spectrum Center. Hornets won 113-106. Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS

Kemba Walker scored 31 points, and the host Charlotte Hornets rolled to a much-needed 113-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.

The Hornets scored seven straight points early in the fourth quarter to gain a working margin, and then they went on to lead by as many as 11 down the stretch, the latest at 111-100.

The Hornets (32-39) had lost four of their previous five and 11 of their previous 15. They remain 10th in the Eastern Conference standings but now are three games behind No. 8 Miami with the tiebreaker over the Heat.

The Timberwolves (32-40) have lost five straight.

The Hornets also got 14 points from Malik Monk, 13 points from Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb, 11 points and 12 rebounds from Miles Bridges, and 10 points from Willy Hernangomez.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and he added six assists. Andrew Wiggins scored 20, Dario Saric 15, Tyus Jones 14 and Josh Okogie and Gorgui Dieng 10 apiece.

The Timberwolves were without Derrick Rose (elbow), Robert Covington (knee) and Jeff Teague (foot). The team announced before the game that all three were being shelved and would miss the remainder of the season. 

The Hornets were without Cody Zeller (knee) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (concussion protocol).

In the chase for the final Western Conference playoff berths, the Timberwolves trail Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers by 10 games with 10 games remaining.

The teams were tied 25-25 after one quarter. The Hornets then took a 54-51 halftime lead and led 81-78 after three quarters. Minnesota tied it 81-81, but the Hornets went back to work at that point and were in control the rest of the way. 

The closest the Timberwolves got down the stretch was five in the final minute.

The Timberwolves will remain on the road for a game at Memphis on Saturday. The Hornets will close out a three-game homestand on Saturday against Boston.

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