The last time the Hornets and the Knicks met, the game surprisingly veered in favor of New York, which even inflicted a correction on the franchise held by Michael Jordan. The reunion between the two teams on Monday, in Charlotte, offered a different scenario, and much more pleasant in terms of spectacle. For the occasion, Charlotte found Nicolas Batum, injured ten days ago against the Knicks. The winger was not the most visible (9 pts at 3/5, 3 rebounds, 4 wt) and notably remained on the bench for the breathless end of the match between the two teams, a pocket of ice around his painful left Achilles tendon. The tricolor winger thus saw his team win after extra time (137-128) in a match marked by the individual performance of Trey Burke on the Knicks side (42 pts at 19/31, 12 wt).
Charlotte still hopes
Kemba Walker rose to the occasion by compiling 11 points and 3 assists in just five additional minutes to help his team win. Dwight Howard (23 pts, 13 rbds) also weighed in the interior sector while the bench of Charlotte was prolific (52 points against 24 for that of New York). On the visitor side, Michael Beasley (27 pts, 8 rebounds) and Enes Kanter (15 pts, 13 rebounds) struggled, in vain. Frank Ntilikina (12 pts at 6/10, 3 wt) ended up frustrated, forced to join the bench for a 6th fault 10 minutes from time.
In terms of accounting, the Charlotte Hornets are not yet eliminated from the play-off race and their series of four victories could allow them to revive the suspense somewhat. It will nevertheless take a combination of very favorable circumstances to see them hang on to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, currently occupied by Miami, which has five more victories with still 8 games to play (and 7 for the Hornets). Charlotte will also string together three very complicated matches (Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia), which could quickly put an end to hopes of qualification.