NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and the Charlotte Hornets kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a 115-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
The Hornets trailed by five in the middle of the fourth quarter when Walker’s 3 ignited a 14-6 run that put Charlotte in front for good. He hit a pair of driving layups and a second 3 during the decisive spurt.
Frank Kaminsky added 21 points and rookie Devonte Graham scored a career-high 13 points for the Hornets (36-42), who, with four games to play, sit 2½ games behind Orlando (39-40) for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Julius Randle had 34 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which has dropped five of six games.
Ian Clark and Stanley Johnson each added 17 points for the Pelicans, who looked primed to push the Hornets to the brink of elimination when they surged into the lead with a 15-3 run in the fourth quarter.
Recently acquired Latvian guard Dairis Bertans hit two 3s during that spurt and a dunk by recently acquired center Christian Wood put New Orleans up 93-88 in the middle of the period.
That’s when Walker’s first 3 of the game, with 6:18 left, ignited Charlotte’s decisive surge. Walker then scored 16 more points inside the final 5:33 to keep the Pelicans at bay.
Hornets: Graham, a 2018 second-round draft choice out of Kansas, matched his previous career high of 11 points Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Marvin Williams sat out with a right foot injury. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist started in his place — just his second start this season. He had five points and five rebounds in 20 minutes. ... Jeremy Lamb scored 12 points in 30 minutes off the bench.
Pelicans: All-Star Anthony Davis missed his fourth straight game with back spasms. ... The club paused between the first and second quarters to honor David “Big Shot” Jovanovic for his 30 years as the equipment manager for the franchise, beginning with the original Charlotte Hornets and through the club’s move to New Orleans and its renaming as the Pelicans. The ceremony included pre-recorded messages from former Hornets players Dell Curry and David Wesley, and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson presented Jovanovic with a gold basketball. ... Randle has scored 30 or more 10 times this season, his first in New Orleans.
Hornets: Host Toronto on Friday night.
Pelicans: Visit Phoenix on Friday night.
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