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Kemba Walker-led Charlotte Hornets prevail over Oklahoma City Thunder

By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker drives the ball. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a79a255e0ce504a32ed288bf66f1bfe3/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker drives the ball. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kemba Walker scored 29 points to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 113-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Hornets overcame Russell Westbrook's 40th triple double of the season as he posted 40 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He is now one triple double away from tying the record held by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (1961-62), and Westbrook can do that Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

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Walker shot 10 of 20 from the field and 6 of 12 from the 3-point line. Frank Kaminsky came off the bench to post 18 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 points and six rebounds as the Hornets improved to 36-41.

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Thunder guard Victor Oladipo scored 19 points while Andre Roberson added 12. No other player scored in double figures as Oklahoma City dropped its second straight game and fell to 43-33.

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Oklahoma City used an 11-1 run to cut the Hornets' lead down to 102-91. A 3-point play by Cody Zeller halted the Thunder momentum.

Leading by 12, Walker drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Westbrook answered right back from the same location.

After getting a stop, Westbrook had an opportunity to cut the deficit but he missed a layup in traffic. Marvin Williams then hit a pair of free throws to give Charlotte a 110-96 lead.

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However, Westbrook knocked in a 3-pointer and was fouled. He missed the free throw and Oklahoma City trailed 110-99.

That was enough to put the game away for Charlotte.

The Hornets began the afternoon by spreading the wealth around. Nine different Hornets scored in the first half.

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But it was the bench players who sparked the Hornets. Kaminsky and Marco Belinelli combined for 17 points in the first half.

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Oklahoma city turned to Westbrook and Oladipo to carry its scoring load. The backcourt duo had a slow start but picked up the pace in the second quarter as they posted 34 points, but the Hornets still led 59-54 at halftime.

Charlotte picked up its defensive presence in the third quarter and took apart the Thunder. Oklahoma City didn't score until 6:24 left in the quarter when Westbrook drove the lane and scooped in a layup.

Westbrook scored 13 straight points as he tried to take over the contest. Yet Charlotte still held a 14-point advantage going into the fourth.

After the Thunder reserves cut the Hornets' lead down to 12, Jeremy Lamb hit a string of baskets to get Charlotte's lead back up to 21.

NOTES: Oklahoma City F Taj Gibson returned to the lineup after missing one game due to illness. ... Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said the game of G Jeremy Lamb has improved since being traded from Oklahoma City in 2015. "I think he is in a good rhythm right now where I think the game is changing I think is good for him," Clifford said. "He plays a skill-based game and he can play off the dribble. He is a lot better pick-and-roll player than I think people realize and he can shoot with range."

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