Kemba Walker already had 14 points going into the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings. Apparently, that was merely an appetizer to the main dish he served to the Kings, a scrumptious affair of 21 points on 9-10 shooting, including 3-3 from deep. Walker finished with 39 points in the Hornets’ overtime, and no basket was more impressive than this layup. Behind Walker, the Hornets managed to come back from 22 points down against the Kings.
The Hornets wildly disappointed in 2014-15 after reaching the playoffs the season prior. This year, they’ve retooled their roster, adding more shooting with Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, Spencer Hawes and even Frank Kaminsky. While those additions are all well and good, Walker is arguably the key to a playoff return.
He’s shooting better from beyond the arc this season (40 percent compared to 30 percent from last year), scoring a touch better, and just playing a more overall efficient game. The Hornets already know they can give it to him in clutch situations, but the question has always been if he can be a consistent scorer – and shooter – throughout the course of a game. If those numbers sustain, and the Hornets continue shooting well from three this year, they should make it back to the playoffs this season.