x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Kemba Walker makes most of New York homecoming

The Charlotte point guard, a New York City native, torched the Knicks for 25 points and said, "I always like winning, especially here against the Knicks."

Kemba Walker had 25 points for Charlotte in New York on Tuesday night. Bill Kostroun / AP
Kemba Walker had 25 points for Charlotte in New York on Tuesday night. Bill Kostroun / AP

Associated Press

NEW YORK // Kemba Walker just loves playing at Madison Square Garden.

Walker scored 25 points despite suffering a shoulder injury midway through the third quarter and not returning until the middle of the fourth and the Charlotte Bobcats held off a late New York rally to beat the Knicks 102-97 on Tuesday night in the NBA.

“It didn’t feel too good at the time. A little pop real quick, but I’m fine. I had x-rays and I’m fine,” Walker said. “I always like winning, especially here against the Knicks. It’s always fun.”

Walker led UConn to the 2011 Big East tournament championship at MSG as the Huskies won five games in five nights. He averaged 21 points against New York last year.

Gerald Henderson scored 18 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 for the Bobcats.

After falling behind 2-0, the Bobcats took the lead on Walkers’ 3-pointer and never trailed again. They took their biggest lead of the game, 69-56, on Kidd-Gilchrist’s two free throws with 9:50 left in the third quarter. But, the Knicks whittled the lead to four, 76-72, on Raymond Felton’s jumper with 3:11 left in the third.

Charlotte got its lead back up to eight points before settling for an 82-76 advantage after three quarters.

Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points to lead the Knicks, but was only 10 for 28 from the field. His back-to-back baskets late in the fourth quarter twice brought the Knicks within two, but every attempt that the Knicks had to take the lead failed.

“We dig ourselves these big holes and then we want to fight back and by that time it was a little bit too late,” Anthony said. “Tonight was one of those nights.”

With 16 seconds left, Anthony hit a 3-pointer to get the Knicks within three, 99-96. After a Bobcats turnover, Iman Shumpert was fouled but made only one of two. Henderson then hit his two free throws with 13 seconds left and the Knicks never got closer.

“The last four or five minutes wasn’t easy,” said Bobcats coach Steve Clifford. “We had a lot of guys step up and make plays. To me, those are the best kind of games to win.”

The Bobcats (2-2) are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season when they began 3-2, while the Knicks (1-3) are off to their worst start since that same season when they started off 1-9.

“We’re happy with it (the record). It’s not fun to come out here and lose every night. We put a lot of work into it just like every other team,” Henderson said. “So 2-2 is cool now.”

Walker hit his first three shots of the game, including two 3-pointers, and finished with 10 in the first quarter. He finished the first half with 17 on 7-9 shooting as the Bobcats took a 64-54 halftime lead.

The Knicks also suffered a loss in the game, as starting center Tyson Chandler left midway through the first quarter and never returned with a right knee injury.

“We don’t know the severity yet,” said Knicks Coach Mike Woodson. “We will know more tomorrow morning, but he is a big piece of what we do.”

The Bobcats opened a 10-point lead, 49-39, on two Ramon Session free throws with 7:10 left in the first half. However, Metta World Peace, who finished with 18 points, scored the Knicks next seven points.

Felton and Shumpert each had 14 for the Knicks.


Pacers 99, Pistons 91

Small forward Paul George poured in 31 points and added 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead the Indiana Pacers to a victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The Pacers (4-0) remained the league’s lone undefeated team by downing the Pistons (2-2) for the sixth consecutive time.

Guard CJ Watson contributed 15 points, forward David West chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds and center Roy Hibbert had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks for Indiana, who are off to their first 4-0 start since 2004-05.

Rockets 116, Trail Blazers 101

Rockets guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard were simply too much for the Trail Blazers, combining for 62 points to lead Houston to victory.

Harden collected 33 points and seven rebounds, and Howard had 29 points and 13 boards as the Rockets rebounded from a 137-118 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and improved to 4-1.

Spurs 102, Nuggets 94

Point guard Tony Parker scored 24 points and forward Tim Duncan dropped in 17 as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets.

Forward Kawhi Leonard scored 14 points for the Spurs (3-1).

Point guard Ty Lawson had 20 points and eight assists for the Nuggets, who are off to an 0-3 start for the second consecutive season.

Mavericks 123, Lakers 104

Guard Monta Ellis sliced through the Los Angeles Lakers for 30 points, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a comfortable victory.

The Mavericks (3-1) led by as many as 30 points and were able to rest their starters late. Reserve Nick Young had 21 points to lead the Lakers (2-3).

Heat 104, Raptors 95

The NBA champions Heat continued their domination of the Toronto Raptors with their 12th straight win against them, as forward LeBron James scored 35 points to lead the way.

James also had eight assists and eight rebounds and guard Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat (3-2).

Nets 104, Jazz 88

Brook Lopez scored 27 points to lead six Nets players in double figures as Brooklyn beat Utah.

Missing four of their key players in Trey Burke, Jeremy Evans, Brandon Rush and Andris Biedrins, the Jazz could not keep up. Guard Gordon Hayward led the team with 22.

Hawks 105, Kings 100

Center Al Horford had 27 points and 10 rebounds and forward Paul Millsap added 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks beat Sacramento for the 11th consecutive time.

Millsap converted on two straight possessions after the Kings cut a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to 96-95 with 2:46 remaining, while guard Isaiah Thomas scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter for the Kings.

Suns 104, Pelicans 98

Guard Eric Bledsoe scored a game-high 25 points, driving into the lane for two critical layups in the final 1:52, and guard Gerald Green exploded for 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter to lift the Phoenix Suns to a victory.

The Suns (3-1) blew open the game with a 37-24 third quarter.

The Pelicans were led by Eric Gordon with 20 points, center Anthony Davis with 17 points and 11 rebounds.