Kemba Walker caps off 18-point, five-minute outburst with 48-foot buzzer-beater

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

For just a moment, it seemed like Kemba Walker might have a quiet night.

Through the first 43-plus minutes of Sunday’s game between the Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns, the All-Star guard only scored 11 points. But in the final four and a half minutes, he poured it on for 18 points — including the team’s final 14 — and led Charlotte to a 119-113 win.

The Hornets led for most of the second half until the Suns pulled ahead on a Jamal Crawford 3-pointer with 1:27 left. Then Kemba took matters into his own hands.

Having already just scored the Hornets’ last three points on free throws, Walker blew past the Suns defense to pick up an and-one reverse layup that will certainly haunt last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton‘s dreams.

And with that, Kemba Walker would not let the Suns have another chance to win.

All-Star guard Kemba Walker scored the Hornets’ final 14 points in a comeback win over the Suns on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
All-Star guard Kemba Walker scored the Hornets’ final 14 points in a comeback win over the Suns on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Cardiac Kemba strikes again

Crawford tied the game back up at 111-111 with a 17-foot pull-up jumper, but Kemba came to the rescue once again by drawing another shooting foul on Ayton. After making his second free throw, Crawford missed a chance to regain the lead, putting the ball back in Walker’s hand.

Although he didn’t put the game away entirely with a triple, Walker continued to pick on Ayton, as he challenged the rookie big man on a pick and roll and hit a devastating fall-back jumper.

Kemba saves the best for last

The game was effectively over after T.J. Warren missed a shot with 17 seconds left, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist got the rebound, and Walker hit a pair of free throws. But he wasn’t done yet.

After a Kelly Oubre Jr. dunk, the Hornets inbounded the ball to Walker, and the diminutive point guard sprinted around with the ball to run out the clock. To make sure time would expire before the Suns could get the ball back, he heaved up the ball from beyond half-court, and what would you know? He made it.

Oubre’s reaction says everything. Some nights, there’s nothing Kemba can’t do. 53 points. 47 points. 48-foot buzzer-beaters. The man belongs in next month’s All-Star Game in Charlotte.

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