Jeremy Lin scored a game-high 29 points as the Charlotte Hornets stunned the San Antonio Spurs 91-88 at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Monday night.
It was a remarkable comeback win by the Hornets, who trailed Spurs 30-7 eleven seconds into the second quarter. At that stage, it seemed like just another day in the office for the mighty Spurs. “I told them, ‘Please try harder,'” Hornets coach Steve Clifford revealed after the game. “‘I’m begging you. I know y’all make more money than me. I know most of you could get me fired. I’m just saying, please,” Clifford told his players during the timeout early in the second quarter.
Lin scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets snapped the Spurs’ six-game winning streak besides denying them their 60th win of the season. The 59-11 Spurs now have 12 games remaining on their schedule, two of which will be against the Golden State Warriors.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs haven’t lost a game after leading by 23 points since the start of the Tim Duncan era in 1997. That, in itself, sums up the upset defeat.
Pop praises clutch Jeremy Lin…
With 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Lin hit a clutch three-pointer that secured the Hornets victory. Lin (11-18 FG, 4-4 3PT) finished with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in just 31 minutes of playing time. It was enough to earn the praise of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“He was spectacular,” Popovich said of Lin, who hit three of his four threes in the final quarter. “We couldn’t stop him all night. He had a great night. He was wonderful.”
Hornets also became the first team to score 7 or fewer points in the first quarter before registering a comeback victory. It was the first such comeback since Utah Jazz upset the New Jersey Nets on December 12, 2008. “We turned the ball over a little too much – just inconsistency throughout,” Duncan said after the shocking loss. “It was an unfortunate loss, but we will move on from it and hopefully become better from it.”
Huge boost for Hornets…
According to Jeremy Lin, the sixth-seeded Hornets (40-30) is capable of beating any team on a given night. “We just turned it up. We just played hard. I’m so thankful to God because I’ve been struggling so much. We lost one the other night (that) we felt like we shouldn’t have lost, so to come out here and get this win is a huge boost for us,” said the point guard.
The victory also meant the Hornets won a game in San Antonio after 11 straight defeats. “Lin was the catalyst in this,” coach Clifford said after the game. “In the first quarter, I don’t know what the numbers were, but we were just shooting the ball (and not) getting in the paint. He got the ball going toward the basket. So we scored 84 in three quarters against a team [that] right now, by the numbers, is going to be the best defensive team in NBA history.”
Jeremy Lin and the Hornets will now visit Brooklyn Nets tomorrow night. The Spurs will host Miami Heat on Wednesday.