Kemba Walker
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Hornets end losing skid, top Brooklyn 111-107

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Someone’s streak was going to continue Tuesday. The Charlotte Hornets were simply happy it wasn’t them as they snapped a seven-game losing streak and held onto a 111-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Charlotte (24-28) had not won since a Jan. 21 triumph over Brooklyn. The Nets (9-43) dropped their 10th straight, and still have not won since a Jan. 20 victory at New Orleans.

“We needed that game,” Charlotte forward Nicolas Batum said. “We’re back home. We need to protect our home court and we needed to win that game.”

Batum, Kemba Walker and Marco Belinelli each had 17 points to lead the Hornets as seven players scored in double-digits in a game where Charlotte’s lead ballooned to as many as 17 points in the second quarter thanks to a quick start.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points and Brook Lopez added 20 for the Nets.

Jeremy Lamb tallied 16 points for the Hornets, while center Frank Kaminsky recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

“We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Again, it was kind of a similar story – turnovers hurt us.”

The Nets tallied 18 turnovers, which resulted in 18 Hornets points.

“Turnovers are killing us because it allows them to have too many easy layups,” said Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic. “Everybody talks about defense, but I think also we have to start with the offense to limit turnovers.”

In Brooklyn’s last four games, the Nets are averaging 19.5 turnovers per game.

In this game, the Hornets pulled away early, using a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-4 advantage with 5:28 left in that period. In all, Brooklyn scored just 16 first-quarter points compared to Charlotte’s 24. Only the Nets’ 14-point first quarter on Jan. 21 was a smaller opponent output for the Hornets this season.

But the Nets continued to attack, scoring nearly as many points in each the third and fourth quarters (35 each) as they scored in the entire first half (37). The Nets sliced Charlotte’s lead to 91-87 with 6:11 remaining when Joe Harris knocked in a 23-foot jumper.

Charlotte, however, countered with quick baskets from Marvin Williams and Belinelli to give the needed cushion.

“Winning in this league is hard,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We struggled to guard them, but we needed a win and that’s the most important thing.”

Charlotte’s All-Star guard Walker caused a small scare when he doubled-over from an elbow to the face by Harris as he drove to the basket with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Walker immediately came out of game and was tended to on the bench by medical staff.

He returned to the contest with 7:29 left in the second quarter.

TIP-INS

Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie started at point guard, as rookie Isaiah Whitehead was moved to the bench. It was Dinwiddie’s 12th game started in 29 contests with the Nets, and came about because Brooklyn still is searching for cohesive units. “It’s about getting guys in their comfort zone and figuring out which point guard fits with each group,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Unfortunately, this late in the season, we’re still searching.” … Former Hornets guard Jeremy Lin missed a chance to play in front of the crowd he played for last season, sitting out because of a strained left hamstring. Lin has played in just 12 games for the Nets this season.

Hornets: Center Cody Zeller missed his eighth straight game with a quad contusion. The 7-foot Frank Kaminsky started at center for Charlotte, shifting from his typical power forward position. … Center Miles Plumlee, acquired via trade Feb. 2, played his first game in Charlotte. He scored four points on 2-for-3 shooting in 15 minutes.

3-POINT INACCURACY

Hornets coach Steve Clifford has identified one of the biggest problems plaguing his 23-28 squad: 3-point shooting. Namely, not making them.

“Our team was built around 3-point shooting,” Clifford said.

That is a problem this season, when the Hornets rank ninth in the NBA in 3-pointers attempted (27.6) per game, but are 20th in the league in accuracy at 35.4 percent.

Last season, Charlotte ranked fourth in the league in 3-point attempts (29.4) and was eighth in the NBA in accuracy at 36.2 percent.

UP NEXT

Nets: Brooklyn returns home Wednesday to host Washington.

Hornets: Charlotte hosts the Houston Rockets on Thursday in the second game of a four-game homestand.

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.

Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer caps incredible Thunder comeback, send Magic game to OT (video)

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The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.

NBA: Timberwolves got away with key late foul in win over Pacers

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Paul George expressed extreme dismay after the Pacers’ loss to the Timberwolves last night — the latest cause for concern in Indiana with its biggest star just one season from free agency.

But perhaps George wouldn’t have sounded so disillusioned if that game featured correct officiating down the stretch.

Minnesota’s Kris Dunn got away with fouling Jeff Teague by disrupting the Pacers guard’s speed/quickness/balance rhythm with 21.6 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Dunn (MIN) makes contact to Teague’s (IND) arm that affects his SQBR and causes him to lose control of the ball.

Because the Timberwolves were in the penalty, a correct would’ve sent Teague — who’s making 86% of his free throws this season and 84% for his career — to the line. He would’ve had two attempts to build on Indiana’s two-point lead.

Instead, he forced an off-balance shot, which Minnesota rebounded. Ricky Rubio drew a shooting foul on a 3-pointer on the other end, and his three free throws lifted the Timberwolves to a 115-114 win.

The two-minute report featured a few other missed calls: George getting away with pushing off then Wiggins getting away with fouling George on a possession where George missed anyway, Andrew Wiggins getting away with a travel on a possession where Minnesota turned the ball over anyway. But those were effectively wash’s. Dunn’s uncalled foul was the one of consequence — especially if it contributes, even in a small way, to George’s exit from the Pacers.

Edmond Sumner declares for NBA draft despite torn ACL

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Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.

That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.

Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.

Sumner:

Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:

Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.

Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.

His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.

A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.

But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.

If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.

Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.