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Charlotte Hornets

Feb 4, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 4, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell (1) controls the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Just last weekend, clutch baskets by D'Angelo Russell, and a timely block by Caris LeVert on Kemba Walker, helped the Brooklyn Nets escape with a dramatic win over the Charlotte Hornets.

It also left the Hornets infuriated with the officiating on the final sequence.

Two of the three meetings between the teams have been filled with drama and the season series will conclude Friday night when the Hornets visit the Nets.

The Nets are expected to a get a boost since Spencer Dinwiddie is set to return Friday. Dinwiddie has been out since Jan. 23 due to torn ligaments in his right thumb and practiced with Brooklyn's G-League team Thursday after coach Kenny Atkinson said he was close to returning. >> Read more

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Dec 28, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Shabazz Napier (13) drives in and scores during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Hornets won 100-87. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Sharpe)
Dec 28, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Shabazz Napier (13) drives in and scores during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center. Hornets won 100-87. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Sharpe)

The top five teams in the Eastern Conference have separated from the rest of the field.

The Brooklyn Nets lead the best of the rest, but the Hornets are on their heels and will try to catch them when the teams meet in Charlotte on Saturday night.

The Nets (30-30) lost their first game after the All-Star break, falling 113-99 to visiting Portland on Thursday. The Hornets (28-30) will be playing on a back-to-back after beating Washington 123-110 on Friday night to open a four-game homestand.

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks are in two different kinds of races.

The Hornets are battling for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, having spent most of the season treading water near the .500 mark.

The Knicks are drowning, suffering their ninth consecutive loss on Sunday night when they fell 106-97 to the visiting Miami Heat. In a close race with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns for the best draft lottery odds, New York has lost 17 of 18 games and 22 of 24.

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New York Knicks guard forward Tim Hardaway Jr. drives against Charlotte Hornets guard forward Jeremy Lamb during the first half at the Spectrum Center. (Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard forward Tim Hardaway Jr. drives against Charlotte Hornets guard forward Jeremy Lamb during the first half at the Spectrum Center. (Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks' losing streak reached 10 games after they fell apart in the fourth quarter in a 101-92 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday at Spectrum Center. >> Box score

Things to know about Monday's game

1. The Knicks led by as many as eight points midway through the third quarter and were up 75-73 early in the fourth, but the Hornets used a 17-1 run, capped by a Malik Monk 3-pointer, to take a 90-76 lead with 6:15 remaining.

2. With Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina both sidelined due to injuries, Trey Burke started at point guard and scored nine points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Willy Hernangomez
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Jan 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports  (Wendell Cruz)
Jan 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks are in two different kinds of races.

The Hornets are battling for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, having spent most of the season treading water near the .500 mark.

The Knicks are drowning, suffering their ninth consecutive loss on Sunday night when they fell 106-97 to the visiting Miami Heat. In a close race with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns for the best draft lottery odds, New York has lost 17 of 18 games and 22 of 24.

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Oct 24, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) celebrates a three-pointer during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Ken Blaze)
Oct 24, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) celebrates a three-pointer during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

After Brookyln's first double overtime victory in over two years, the Nets close 2018 winning nine of their last 10 games -- defining a new standard as the hottest team in the league.

Joe Harris poured 27 points, making 11 of 14 field goal attempts, including the game-winner as the Nets showed no mercy in a wild and wacky 134-132 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday at Barclays Center. 

Harris went 5-for-8 from 3-point range with six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 37 points, just two points away from matching his career-high. The guard went 7-for-16 from beyond the arc, adding 11 assists and making 12-of-29 field goal attempts.

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Dec 26, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) goes up for a shot and is fouled by Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Dec 26, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) goes up for a shot and is fouled by Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Nets got off to a slow start then clawed their way back for 34 points in the second quarter. Spencer Dinwiddie erupted off the bench for 37 points, helping Brooklyn rally into double overtime during a dramatic back-and-forth final quarter in the 134-132 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday at Barclays Center. >> Box score

Things to know about Wednesday's game

1. Joe Harris scored 11 of 14 field goals for 27 points while D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson poured 16 points apiece as Brooklyn won for the ninth time in its last 10 games.

2. While the Nets made 19 of 48 3-pointers, Charlotte shot 15-for-31 from beyond the arc. Harris went 5-for-8 from 3-point range and Dinwiddle went 7-for-17.

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New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers 110-99 on Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. >> Box score

Things to know about Sunday's game

1. While four of five Knicks starters finished in double figures, they couldn't find a way to stop Indiana's Victor Oladipo, who scored a game-high 26 points. 

2. Enes Kanter recorded a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 and Emmanuel Mudiay 18 for New York, which has lost six of its last seven games.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Courtney Lee, Emmanuel Mudiay, Enes Kanter, Frank Ntilikina, Indiana Pacers, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke
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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks could pursue Kemba Walker when he becomes a free agent, but for now the 28-year-old guard is focused on winning with the Charlotte Hornets.

Walker told reporters he was focused on this season and not free agency after he scored 25 points to lead Charlotte past New York 119-107 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

"I don't have any interest in coming back home -- right now," Walker, a Bronx native, said, according to the New York Post's Zach Braziller.

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New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox shoots against Portland Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox shoots against Portland Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

Only two teenagers have recorded a 25-point, 15-rebound double-double.

The first was LeBron James. The second is Knicks rookie Kevin Knox.

The 19-year-old Knox scored 26 points and brought down 15 boards, both career highs, in Sunday's 119-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

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New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Rodions Kurucs during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Rodions Kurucs during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks dropped their fourth straight game with a 119-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. >> Box score

Things to know about Sunday's game

1. Rookie Kevin Knox recorded a double-double of 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Frank Ntilikina came off the bench and scored all of his career-high 18 points in the second half.

2. The Knicks have lost four games in a row and six of their last seven. Each time, they have allowed at least 110 points.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Frank Ntilikina
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New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay controls the ball against Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay controls the ball against Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay will miss Monday's game against the Charlotte Hornets due to illness, the team announced.

Mudiay was removed from New York's starting lineup in Sunday's 101-97 win against the Washington Wizards and recorded 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.

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New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is guarded by Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk in the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is guarded by Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk in the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

The Charlotte Hornets are focused on taking another positive step to keep alive their remote playoff hopes when they host the New York Knicks on Monday night in Charlotte, N.C.

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New York Knicks center Enes Kanter tries to grab a rebound in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks center Enes Kanter tries to grab a rebound in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Playing without forward Kristaps Porzingis for the second straight game, the Knicks were blown out against the Charlotte Hornets in a 109-91 loss on Monday at Spectrum Center.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Willy Hernangomez
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New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley draws a blocking foul against Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley draws a blocking foul against Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Knicks hope to avoid a letdown between attention-grabbing matchups Monday night when they make a one-day trip to Charlotte to face the Hornets.

The Knicks prevailed in an emotional reunion with Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-96 on Saturday night. They will host the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday.

In between, they will head south to deal with the Hornets, who have lost 10 of their last 12, including two in a row to begin a four-game homestand.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Kristaps Porzingis
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Dec 10, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17) defends against New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 10, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (17) defends against New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Knicks ruled forward Kristaps Porzingis out for Monday's game against the Charlotte Hornets due to a sore left knee, the team announced.

Porzingis, who also missed Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, suffered the non-contact injury when his knee buckled in Thursday's game against the Brooklyn Nets.

"Based on where he was, he was pretty close," head coach Jeff Hornacek said, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, about Porzingis possibly returning on Saturday. "But little things were getting him when he was making certain moves. I don't know if that just disappears overnight, so we'll have to see."

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Kristaps Porzingis
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Jan 21, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) works the ball around Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 21, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) works the ball around Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks will play the Hornets at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m on Friday night. 

According to STATS: 

  • The Knicks are 34-15 in home games versus the Hornets all-time, though the two teams have split the last four meetings at Madison Square Garden. Charlotte has won seven of its last nine meetings with New York, overall.
  • The Hornets lost, 113-103, at home versus the Wizards on Wednesday, their fourth double-digit loss this month after totaling five such losses from October to December combined.
  • The Knicks lost, 103-95, at Dallas on Wednesday and are now 1-11 when scoring fewer than 100 points and 19-16 when scoring in triple digits. New York attempted just 12 free throws in the loss, its fourth game this month with 15 or fewer free-throw attempts; only Washington (six) and Orlando (five) have more such games this month.
Tags: Charlotte Hornets
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GEICO SportsNite: Hero Foye 00:00:54
Kenny Atkinson and Randy Foye speak about the Nets? buzzer-beater win over the Hornets at the Barclays Center.

Randy Foye made a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer and give the Brooklyn Nets a 120-118 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The Nets overcame the loss of Jeremy Lin and a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to stop a five-game losing streak. Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 26 points, Sean Kilpatrick had 23 and Brook Lopez scored 10 of his 21 in the fourth.

Nicolas Batum had 24 points and Jeremy Lamb added 17 for Charlotte, but Kemba Walker was scoreless in the fourth quarter as the Hornets had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Tags: Bojan Bogdanovic, Brook Lopez, Charlotte Hornets, Jeremy Lin
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Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin left Monday's game against the Charlotte Hornets in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring and did not return.

Lin, who missed 17 games earlier this season with a hamstring issue, landed awkwardly after he was fouled driving to the hoop. He stayed in momentarily before signaling to the Nets' bench he needed to be taken out.

He scored 17 points and recorded four assists before departing.

The Nets won 120-118.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Jeremy Lin
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Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson reacts in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet)
Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson reacts in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet)

The Hornets (17-13) buzz into Brooklyn on Monday for a matchup against the Nets (7-22) at Barclays Center.

Tags: Brook Lopez, Charlotte Hornets
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Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) moves the ball upcourt during the third quarter of the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter)
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) moves the ball upcourt during the third quarter of the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter)

NEW YORK -- The final week of the calendar year ends with a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Charlotte Hornets.

First, they must not look past three games against Eastern Conference teams with losing records.

Step one is Monday night when the Hornets visit the Brooklyn Nets, who are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the worst record in the NBA.

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The Knicks' Brandon Jennings (3) and the Hornets' Ramon Sessions (7) go after a loose ball. (Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)
The Knicks' Brandon Jennings (3) and the Hornets' Ramon Sessions (7) go after a loose ball. (Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hornets held Carmelo Anthony to 18 points the day after he scored 35 against them in New York and held off the Knicks for a 107-102 victory Saturday in Charlotte.

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Nov 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) reacts to the win against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 113-111. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee (5) reacts to the win against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 113-111. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

CHARLOTTE -- The Charlotte Hornets won't have too much time to dwell on giving up a 13-point lead to the New York Knicks, only to lose 113-111 in overtime on Friday in New York.

The two teams will go at it again on Saturday in Charlotte.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets
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Nov 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) gestures after scoring a three point basket during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) gestures after scoring a three point basket during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 35 points, including the tiebreaking jumper with 3.1 seconds left in overtime, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets 113-111 on Friday night.

Derrick Rose added 16 points and blocked Kemba Walker's 3-pointer that would have won it just before the buzzer. Kristaps Porzingis also scored 16 points in the Knicks' sixth straight home victory. 

Tags: Charlotte Hornets
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The Knicks host the Hornets on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

According to STATS...

  • This is the front end of a home-and-home series, as the teams are scheduled to play in Charlotte on Saturday. The Hornets have won six of the last seven games in this series.
  • After starting the season 6-1, the Hornets have gone 2-5 in their last seven contests, including dropping the last three of these.
  • The Knicks have had 20 or more assists in each of their last four games (3-1); this is their longest single-season streak since they had eight consecutive games with 20+ assists, January 16-29, 2016. New York had 20+ dimes in just three of its first 10 contests this season (3-0).
Tags: Charlotte Hornets
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Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Ramon Sessions (7) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Ramon Sessions (7) drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kemba Walker scored a season-high 30 points and the Charlotte Hornets improved their best start in 16 years to 4-1 by beating the Brooklyn Nets 99-95 on Friday night.

Nicolas Batum added 18 points and nine rebounds, while Marvin Williams, who missed his first 10 shots, made a 3-pointer with 1:05 left after the Nets had cut the lead to one point.

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Brooklyn Nets head coach Tony Brown looks on during the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports Images)
Brooklyn Nets head coach Tony Brown looks on during the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports Images)

Kemba Walker scored 22 points, Troy Daniels made his first five 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points, and the Charlotte Hornets completed a four-game season sweep of the Brooklyn Nets with a 113-99 win on Friday night.

With the win, the Hornets (46-33) assured they'll be no lower than the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Charlotte still has an outside shot of hosting a playoff series, but trails Boston and Miami for the fourth spot.

Walker tallied his 41st game with 20 or more points this season.

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Thomas Robinson, Wayne Ellington
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Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
Brooklyn Nets guard Sean Kilpatrick (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

The Brooklyn Nets face the Charlotte Hornets on the road on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

According to STATS:

  • Charlotte (3-0) will be looking to sweep this season series for the fourth time in franchise history, and for the first time since 2000-01 (4-0).
  • The Nets have given up 105 or more points in each of its last seven, as well as in 12 of its last 13, contests.
  • Charlotte has won 45 games this season after finishing 33-49 in 2014-15. That +12 increase in wins is the second best among NBA teams (NY, +14).
  • Sean Kilpatrick had a career-high 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting (including 4-for-5 from three-point range) in the March 22 meeting between the Nets and Hornets.
  • Thomas Robinson has recorded a double-double in each of his last five games. That is the longest streak by any Brooklyn player this season. Robinson is putting up 15.2 points and 12.2 boards per game during this streak.
  • Kemba Walker is shooting 41.7 (93/223) from behind the arc in home games this season; that ranks ninth in the NBA (minimum 150 3PA in home G).
Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Thomas Robinson
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Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum during second half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum during second half at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

While earning home-court advantage remains an important goal, the Charlotte Hornets must weigh that objective against keeping their key players healthy for the playoffs.

They could see Nicolas Batum return Friday night after winning for the first time since he went down, but they certainly won't rush him back against the visiting Brooklyn Nets.

Batum had been hitting his stride, averaging 20 points, 7.1 assists and six rebounds over a 10-game stretch before suffering a left knee injury in Sunday's 112-103 loss at Cleveland.

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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker shoots over Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez in first half at Barclays Center. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker shoots over Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez in first half at Barclays Center. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

Kemba Walker scored 28 points, Al Jefferson added 18 in his second game back from right knee surgery, and the Charlotte Hornets extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 104-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night.

The Hornets also posted a season-best fourth straight win on the road, a winning streak they will bring to Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland on Wednesday.

Nicolas Batum had 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Charlotte, which improved to 6-1 in February. Jeremy Lin scored 11 points and Marvin Williams had nine points and 12 rebounds.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Nets in their final game before a nine-game road trip. Brook Lopez had 16 points, including his first 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer. He added 10 rebounds and six assists, his most in a game in nearly six years. >> Read more...

Tags: Brook Lopez, Charlotte Hornets, Joe Johnson
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The Nets are in Charlotte tonight to take on the Hornets.

Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen?on YES or listened to on WFAN (660 AM or 101.9 FM).

Deron Williams, Sergey Karasev, Mason Plumlee, Cory Jefferson and Joe Johnson?are tonight's Nets starters.

Tags: brook lopez, Brooklyn Nets, charlotte hornets, Nets, yes network, Tim Reilly
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