Kemba Walker has been a one-man show for the Charlotte Hornets this season, but sometimes that one man is not enough.
The All-Star guard dropped 47 points on the Washington Wizards on Saturday, including 24 in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets still fell, 130-126.
Walker shot 18-of-29 from the field, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. In the fourth quarter alone, he was 9-for-12 and perfect on all five triples. As usual, Walker showed incredible body control as he hit some truly improbable shots through contact.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 30, 2018
But as well as Walker has played this season, he’s only been able to drag his team to so much success. The Hornets have been within one game of .500 in all but one game this season, which is good for the seventh seed in the East. But even in some of Walker’s best performances, the Hornets haven’t been able to pull through.
Hornets have struggled during Walker’s best games
The Hornets’ loss during a Kemba outburst wasn’t unique. Walker has the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, but the Hornets lost to the Philadelphia 76ers despite his 60 points. In the 16 career games Kemba has scored at least 40 points, Charlotte has only come away with five wins.
Overall, it’s fairly rare for teams to do so poorly with a big scoring output from one player. This season, players have scored 35 or more points 123 times, and their teams won 85 of those games for a .691 winning percentage. Players have score 40 or more points 50 times, and their teams won 80 percent of the time. Yet this season, the Hornets are 2-5 when Walker scores at least 35 and 1-3 when he scores at least 40.
It’s not so much Walker’s fault as the rest of his teammates. Walker is 10th in the NBA in scoring at 25.9 points per game, but only two other teammates — Jeremy Lamb and Malik Monk — are averaging in double figures.
Walker has already rewritten the Hornets’ record books with five of the six highest-scoring games in franchise history, including the only two games with at least 50 points. But free agency looms for the undersized guard, and perhaps a few more wins would help the cause to keep him locked in purple and teal.
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