March 03, 2015

The Charlotte Hornets pulled off one of their biggest wins of the season despite Kemba Walker being mostly off target.

The Bronx native had his shares of struggles in Brooklyn until he finally broke out the last time he visited the borough.

Walker and the Hornets begin a four-game trip Tuesday night against a Nets team expected to have leading scorer Brook Lopez back in the lineup.

Charlotte (40-30) trailed 30-7 early in the second quarter Monday before rallying for a stunning 91-88 victory over a powerhouse San Antonio team seeking its 60th win. It came even though Walker made 2 of 11 shots for six points for his second-lowest output.

The Hornets overcame his woes because Jeremy Lin was spectacular with 15 of his 29 points in a fourth quarter in which Charlotte outscored San Antonio 24-16.

''We just turned it up,'' Lin said. ''We just played hard. I'm so thankful to God because I've been struggling so much. We lost one the other night we felt like we shouldn't have lost. So to come out here and get this win is a huge boost for us.''

Lin was referring to Saturday's 101-93 home defeat to Denver that came two days after a huge 109-106 win in Miami. The Hornets are trying to avoid a similar outcome versus the lowly Nets.

"Last time we beat Miami, we had a great game against Miami, we had a letdown against Denver so gotta learn from it," guard Nicolas Batum said. "So tomorrow we've gotta be ready right from the start and beat this team."

Charlotte, which trails the Heat and Atlanta by one-half game in the Southeast Division, has won seven of nine on the road. Its 10-2 record this month matches Golden State for the NBA's best.

The Hornets, who play nine of their final 12 away from Charlotte, had been 0-6 in road games against the Nets (19-50) that Walker played in, including a 0-4 mark in Brooklyn before he scored 28 on 11-of-18 shooting in a 104-96 victory Feb. 21. Walker averaged 8.8 points on 29.5 percent shooting in his first four games at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn has dropped six of seven, but should receive a boost since Lopez is expected back after he sat out Saturday's 115-103 loss at Detroit with a virus.

The Nets have received some solid recent performances from unheralded guards Bojan Bogdanovic and Sean Kilpatrick. Bogdanovic is averaging 29.7 points on 56.7 percent shooting in his last three games and Kilpatrick is averaging 16.3 and shooting 59.5 in his last four.

"They're both in a great place as far as reading things, when to shoot, when not to and moving the basketball and being able to drive it when that presents itself," interim coach Tony Brown said. "Both guys are in a great comfort zone right now and that's why you see the production that they're giving."

Charlotte has drilled 21 3-pointers in two wins over Brooklyn this season. The Hornets average 29.3 attempts to top the Eastern Conference while the Nets have the league's third-lowest mark at 17.8.

The Hornets' 8-4 record in the second half of back-to-backs is the East's best winning percentage.

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