When Hornets’ Devonte Graham first thought he had an NBA chance
Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb beat the Toronto Raptors for the second time in seven games, hitting a 3-pointer for the winning margin in a 113-111 home victory.
Lamb (22 points) made a buzzer-beating shot from just beyond mid-court in Toronto on March 24. This time, his game-decider came with three seconds left.
Raptors forward Pascal Siakam hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to give Toronto a one-point lead. The Hornets gave up possession when a jump shot by Frank Kaminsky (22 points and 13 rebounds) never reached the rim for a shot-clock violation.
Kemba Walker (29 points and eight assists) responded with a baseline drive for a layup with 29 seconds left, but the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard (29 points) had a layup as well with 15 seconds remaining.
Walker penetrated to the lane, drew multiple defenders, and passed out to Lamb, who nailed a 3-pointer with three seconds left for the two-point margin.
Leonard took a corner 3-pointer that lodged between the rim and the backboard, forcing a mid-court jump ball with 0.8 seconds left. Hornets rookie Miles Bridges beat Raptors center Marc Gasol on the tap and time expired as the ball bounced out of bounds.
Three who mattered
Walker: He just missed what would have been his 27th game this season of 30 or more points.
Kaminsky: His second double-double of the season; the other was against the San Antonio Spurs.
Serge Ibaka: He matched Kaminky’s 20-point/10-rebound game off the bench for the Raptors.
▪ Hornets veterans Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum have been in and out of the rotation lately, but both played in the first quarter Friday. Kidd-Gilchrist started in place of the injured Marvin Williams. Batum entered the game with about five minutes left in the first quarter after not playing in the previous two games.
▪ Lots of mixing and matching of Hornets lineups in the first half; the only two active players coach James Borrego didn’t use before halftime were Shelvin Mack and rookie J.P. Macura.
▪ Macura, playing on a two-way contract, has been with the Hornets since the G-League Greensboro Swarm’s season ended. This was the second game in a row he was on the active roster.
▪ This was the fifth consecutive game veteran point guard Tony Parker wasn’t on the active roster. It feels unlikely he will play again this season, as the Hornets get minutes for rookie Devonte Graham.
▪ Hornets rookie Miles Bridges had five assists in the first quarter. That matched his high in any previous game this season.
▪ Kaminsky drew a technical foul in the second quarter, his second of the season.
▪ Walker joined Glen Rice (1996-97) as the only two Hornets to reach 2,000 points in a season.
▪ This was the third game of Kidd-Gilchrist’s career when he made two or more 3-pointers.
They said it
“It limits us a little bit offensively in some of our spacing and rotations, but I think the No. 1 thing you get out of MKG is competitiveness. .” – Borrego on the decision to start Kidd-Gilchrist as an injury replacement for Marvin Williams.
“Obviously, we would love to have them both back.” – Borrego, when asked if Williams and/or Cody Zeller will play again this season.
B+ OFFENSE: .They got the ball into the lane with frequency and effectiveness.
C+ DEFENSE:. The Hornets recovered from a terrible start when the rotations looked particularly slow.
B+ COACHING: Borrego had them playing hard after a disappointing road trip that tattered the Hornets’ playoff chances.