|In the clutch, smallest Hornets come up big against Boston Celtics|
|Parker, Walker play roles in 117-112 win|
|Published Monday, November 19, 2018 10:56 pm|
Tony Parker gives Kemba Walker someone to defer to.
Walker has carried the Charlotte Hornets (8-8, No. 8 in the Eastern Conference), averaging 29.6 points per game, but with an aging former All-Star in Parker, he does not have to bear the burden on his own. Walker scored 103 points in two games, 43 of which came in Monday’s 117-112 win against Boston (9-8, No. 7 in the East), as a crowd mixed with Celtics and Hornets fans chanted “MVP.”
“They made me miss a free throw,” said Walker, who 8-of-9 from the line. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to hear those chants, especially because I’ve been here for so long. I’m at a loss for words, honestly. It was a special moment.”
Walker, who missed consecutive shots with just over two minutes to play, rebounded his missed three-point attempt and passed to Parker with exactly two minutes on the clock to put the Hornets up 112-108. Parker extended their lead to 114-108 25 seconds later. Walker hit Charlotte’s final shot of the night from 27 feet out—a three-pointer to seal the game against a team they had not beaten since April 11, 2016.
“[I told Walker] ‘I got him,’” said Parker, who played nearly all the fourth quarter while scoring seven points to go with four assists. “He is spending so much energy. He’s been playing amazing basketball. I told him in the fourth quarter, ‘if you need a break in the fourth quarter, I’ll be ready.’ I know that he trusts me, and that’s why he passed me the ball. That’s why I’m here, to make those shots, to make those plays, and to make sure that he gets some rest. That way we can alternate, and make sure that if it’s me or him, we have somebody creating for ourselves, and for our teammates.”
Walker, who scored 108 points in five games from Nov. 3-13, has nearly matched that over their last two games. Sustaining that level of play in February remains yet to be seen. Walker has scored 40 points three times this season, which is tied with Portland’s Damian Lillard for most in the NBA.
“It’s not all on the ball—sometimes it’s off the ball,” coach James Borrego said. “That’s our job, to move [Walker] around, and disguise him as much as we can. I think Tony allows him to do that.”
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