CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Eleven seconds into the second quarter, Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford called a timeout with his team trailing the San Antonio Spurs 30-7.
“I told them please try harder,” Clifford said after the game with a laugh. “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.”
Jeremy Lin answered that plea, scoring 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to help Charlotte rally for a 91-88 victory on Monday night, snapping the Spurs’ six-game winning streak and denying them their 60th win of the season.
While perhaps not quite “Linsanity II,” the 23-point lead was the largest surrendered by the Spurs in the Tim Duncan era, which began in 1997, according to information provided to the Hornets by Elias.
Lin was 11 of 18 from the field and hit all four 3-point attempts, including three in the fourth quarter, and provided the go-ahead jumper with 48 seconds left.
“He was spectacular,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “We couldn’t stop him all night. He had a great night. He was wonderful.”
Charlotte became the first team to score seven points or fewer in the opening quarter and come back to win since the Utah Jazz against the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 12, 2008.
Courtney Lee had 17 points, including 14 in a pivotal third quarter.
Nicolas Batum added 15 points, and Cody Zeller grabbed 14 boards for the Hornets, who bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
“We just turned it up,” Lin said. “We just played hard. I’m so thankful to God because I’ve been struggling so much. We lost one the other night we felt like we shouldn’t have lost. So to come out here and get this win is a huge boost for us.”
Tony Parker had 19 points for the Spurs, while LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Duncan had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Warriors 109, T-Wolves 104
In Minneapolis, Draymond Green had 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists to help Golden State narrowly avoid its first two-game skid in nearly a year with a win over the hosts.
Klay Thompson scored 17 points and hit all five of his 3-pointers, and the Warriors (63-7) overcame a second straight poor shooting night from Stephen Curry. The reigning MVP missed 11 of his 17 shots, including seven of his nine 3s, but still had 19 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Cavaliers 124, Nuggets 91
In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 33 points and had his 41st career triple-double as the hosts clinched their second straight Central Division title.
Pistons 92, Bucks 91
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Andre Drummond’s tip-in with 2 seconds remaining lifted Detroit over Milwaukee.
Bulls 109, Kings 102
In Chicago, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson had 18 points each, Doug McDermott added 16 and Pau Gasol had 14 points and 14 boards as the Bulls rallied past Sacramento.
Wizards 112, Hawks 102
In Atlanta, John Wall scored 27 points and dished out 14 assists and Bradley Beal had 25 points to help Washington extend its winning streak to a season-high five games.
Pacers 91, 76ers 75
In Indianapolis, Paul George scored 15 points and Monta Ellis added 13 to help Indiana pull away from Philadelphia.
Grizzlies 103, Suns 97
In Phoenix, Lance Stephenson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth as Memphis pulled out a win over the Suns.
Celtics 107, Magic 96
In Boston, Isaiah Thomas had 28 points and seven assists and the Celtics held on to beat Orlando.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5