Charlotte, NC—Lance Stephenson was the man last night in Charlotte. With 2.7 seconds left Stephenson hit a game-winning three at the top of the key to give the Hornets a 122-119 win in double overtime.
Said Hornets coach Steve Clifford after the game: “Lance is starting to feel more comfortable these last two games. He’s talented and competitive. That game-winner should give him the confidence he needs.”
Stephenson put up 17 points and grabbed 13 boards in 47 minutes. In the final timeout with 2.7 seconds left in the second overtime period, he looked at coach Clifford and said, “C’mon coach, let me get this shot.”
“I haven’t made a shot all season. This was my first game-winner. I had a lot of emotion come out. I just got real hype,” said Stephenson.
Emotion was right. After the shot banked in and buzzer sounded, Stephenson jumped on to the score’s table and embraced the screaming fans.
Al Jefferson also scored a season-high 34 points. He said was pretty happy that Lance hit that shot because his body began cramping up so badly he wouldn’t have been able to survive another five-minute period.
“Lance is hard as nails. You know them New York guys. You see when he got the ball what he did with it. I ain’t mad at him,” said Jefferson.
The Hornets now improve to 3-3 after beating the Hawks at Time Warner Cable Arena for the first time since 2011 with a big help from the bench that combined for 41 points. Gary Neal did his part adding 23 while Cody Zeller recorded his second consecutive double-figure scoring night with 10 points. Rookie PJ Hairston was first off the bench, replacing Gerald Henderson, and made immediate noise by knocking down a deep corner three and drawing a foul.
Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford controlled the game for the Hawks with 24 points with help from Jeff Teague (22 points) and Kyle Korver (20). Teague also had 15 assists, posting his first double-double of the season.
The Hornets have now snapped a six-game home losing streak against the Hawks. They’ll head to Los Angeles to face the Lakers with two division wins under their belt. The Hawks travel to New York tonight to face the Knicks.