Walker, Hornets keep rolling, Knicks drop 15th straight
NEW YORK (AP) Believe it or not, the New York Knicks were a winning team last time Charlotte was here.
Now they're the worst in the NBA - and potentially the worst in Knicks history.
Kemba Walker added to the best stretch of his career with 28 more points, and the streaky Charlotte Hornets extended the Knicks' losing streak to 15 games with a 110-82 rout on Saturday.
New York hung around for 1 1/2 quarters before being run buried under a 27-2 avalanche to finish the half that produced some of the most booming boos of the season at Madison Square Garden.
''It kind of just went bad real quick,'' forward Quincy Acy said. ''It looked like we kind of just gave up.''
These days, it's hard to tell even when they're trying.
Charlotte won its fifth in a row and did it so easily that Walker played only three quarters. That was still enough for him to surpass 25 points for the fifth straight time.
The Hornets outscored the Knicks 41-13 in the second quarter and were ahead 89-44 after three.
''Right now we're clicking,'' Walker said.
Bismack Biyombo added 14 points, tying a career high, and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, the latest team to enjoy a laugher at the expense of the Knicks. New York fell to 5-35 with its 25th loss in 26 games.
Acy had 18 points for the Knicks, playing without Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.
New York reaches the midway point of its schedule Thursday when it plays Milwaukee in London. The Knicks are on their longest single-season skid ever and free-falling toward their worst finish, which is 23-59 in the 82-game schedule.
Amazingly, New York was 2-1 after beating Charlotte here on Nov. 2. Now the Knicks could be headed toward more NBA infamy, as they are on pace to finish with fewer than 15 wins, which is the least in an 82-game schedule for a team that was above .500 at any point during the season, according to STATS.
President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson took the blame before the game, though said he was doing what's best for the franchise's future.
''We hope we're on the right track, even though this isn't the track we anticipated,'' Jackson said.
The Hornets are on the right track, though they haven't stayed on the same one for long this season. They lost four in a row last month, then won four, then lost five straight before this win streak, their longest of the season.
Even playing without injured starters Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson, they averaged 100.8 points during the previous four games. They were already at 89 after three quarters of this one, when they led by 45.
''This is the best offense that we've played over a number of games,'' coach Steve Clifford said.
Hornets: Walker had 30 or more in the first three games of his streak before scoring 29 in a victory at Toronto on Thursday. ... Cody Zeller (right shoulder strain) and P.J. Hairston (illness) both returned after missing the previous game. Hairston scored 15 points.
Knicks: Rookie Cleanthony Early made his first start. He shot 2 of 9 for six points. ... New York signed Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson to 10-day contracts earlier Saturday. Both players had previously been waived after they were acquired earlier this week in the three-team trade that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland.
HONORS FOR WALKER?
Walker will be a strong candidate for Eastern Conference player of the week when the award is announced Monday. An All-Star berth will be tougher given the Hornets' 15-24 record, but Walker said he doesn't think much about it anyway, even with the game here in his hometown.
''Right now I'm just focused on winning and just keep racking up wins for my team,'' he said.
Hornets: Host San Antonio on Wednesday.
Knicks: Against Milwaukee in London on Thursday.