December 05, 2014

The New York Knicks just got picked apart by a top point guard and now they have to face one who has been very explosive.

Kemba Walker has scored at least 40 points twice in his last three games and the New York native will try to lead the short-handed Charlotte Hornets to a fifth straight home win over the Knicks on Saturday night.

New York (22-23) allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to shoot 56.6 percent - a season-high for an opponent - in Friday's 116-88 home loss. Chris Paul had 13 of his club's 23 assists, as New York had no answer for his repeated pick-and-rolls with teammates.

"The game got away from the start. We weren't ready to play against this team tonight," coach Derek Fisher said. "They were physically, faster, better tonight. We've had very few of these so far this year."

New York will now try to slow down Walker, who scored a franchise-record 52 points in Monday's 124-119 victory over Utah in double overtime. After he scored 21 two nights later in a loss at Oklahoma City, Walker came through with 40 in Friday's 120-116 overtime win at Orlando.

"Great week," Walker said. "I would never have thought this would happen but I'm playing pretty well, and I'm just playing off my teammates, playing the game, letting the game come to me."

The Hornets (20-23) ended a 10-game road losing streak Friday despite trailing by 15 points in the third quarter behind Walker, who added nine assists and seven rebounds as he played the entire final period and overtime.

"He'll do anything to win so if he feels he has to keep scoring the ball, he's going to do it," forward Marvin Williams said. "But he's making the right plays, though, he's getting assists as well, he's rebounding as well so he's going to give you his all each and every night and I think that's why he's playing so well."

Charlotte's win came without two starters. Second-leading scorer Nicolas Batum was out with a sprained right toe while center Cody Zeller was out with a strained right shoulder. It's unlikely either will play Saturday.

Former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin replaced Batum in the starting lineup and had seven points. Spencer Hawes took Zeller's spot and finished with a season-high 16 points and 10 boards for his first double-double since April 4, 2014.

Knicks center Robin Lopez was ejected with two technical fouls Friday. He got involved in an altercation with DeAndre Jordan and finished with six points and seven boards after totaling 38 and 22 in his previous two games.

"Things were getting really chippy out there, it happened so fast it's kinda hard to recall," Lopez said. "Maybe I overreacted a little bit but what happened, happened. I'm OK with it."

New York's Lance Thomas has missed two straight game with a sore left knee. Fisher said the reserve forward was getting better, but wasn't sure if he could play Saturday.

The Knicks are 3-6 in the second half of back-to-back games while the Hornets are 3-4.

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