Lin sparks Hornets' comeback victory

Charlotte overturn a 23-point deficit for 10th win in last 12, Spurs lose after six-game streak

CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) • It was another episode of Linsanity, and this time it was more surreal than ever.

Jeremy Lin rescued the Charlotte Hornets on a night when they started miserably, and the Hornets rallied from a 23-point deficit to stun the San Antonio Spurs 91-88 on Monday in a National Basketball Association league game.

Lin scored 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting with four three-pointers, and he came up biggest with the game on the line.

His fall-away jumper with 48.4 seconds remaining gave the Hornets the lead for good at 89-88, and then he tacked on two free throws with 18.3 left to push the lead to three.

"He's a very committed player," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

"He works so hard. You're going to get his best effort every night.

Charlotte's Jeremy Lin driving to the basket against San Antonio's David West at Time Warner Cable Arena. Lin scored 29 points, including four three-pointers, as the Hornets defeated the Spurs 91-88.
Charlotte's Jeremy Lin driving to the basket against San Antonio's David West at Time Warner Cable Arena. Lin scored 29 points, including four three-pointers, as the Hornets defeated the Spurs 91-88. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

  • 61.1% Jeremy Lin came off the bench to sink 11 of 18 shots, including all four three-pointers, for 29 points.

    +19 Charlotte made 55 points in the second half, after managing only 36 before the break.

"He obviously came in and picked our energy up tonight, in both halves. He was the catalyst."

The Hornets (40-30) bounced back from a bitter home loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday and won for the 10th time in their past 12 games.

"We just turned it up," Lin said.

"I can't even think, man. We just played hard. I'm just thankful to God. I've been struggling so much and we lost one the other night that we felt we shouldn't have lost. So to come out here and get this win is a huge boost for us."

San Antonio dominated the early going, as they showed no let-up after their big win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

They led 28-7 after one quarter, limiting the Hornets to 14.3 per cent shooting from the field.

Lin scored 12 points in the second quarter as the Hornets chipped away at the deficit to trail 36-51 at half-time. Charlotte then closed within 67-72 after three quarters, and then they got their first lead at 75-74 on Lin's three-pointer with 9min 10sec remaining.

"I told them, 'Please try harder'," Clifford joked about what he said after the Hornets fell behind by 23 points. " 'I'm begging you, please. I know you make more money than me, I know most of you could get me fired. I'm just saying please, so I can sleep on the plane tonight, please just try a little bit harder.' "

Courtney Lee scored 17 points, Nicolas Batum 15 and Cody Zeller had 14 rebounds for Charlotte. Leading scorer Kemba Walker was held to six points on 2-of-11 shooting, and Al Jefferson was just 1-for-9 for three points.

The Spurs (59-11) had a six-game winning streak snapped. They had won 14 of their previous 15 and 20 of their previous 22.

Coach Gregg Popovich felt the game slipped away in the second quarter, when his team had an opportunity to turn the outcome into a rout.

"In the second quarter, I thought our second team was basically out to lunch," he said.

"They stopped moving the ball. It was one-on-one, turnovers, gave up 29 points in the quarter. That sealed the fate right there. Charlotte recovered. They did a good job of hanging in and playing hard and continued to do that."

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 19 points. LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Lin sparks Hornets' comeback victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe