Despite his heroics, the struggling Hornets still needed double overtime to secure the victory.
Walker became the fourth player this season to eclipse 50 points, per Michael Gallagher of Yahoo Sports, joining Houston Rockets 2-guard James Harden, Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler and Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry, the league's reigning Most Valuable Player:
In even more elite company, Walker joined the likes of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, among others, by adding nine rebounds and eight assists Monday, per Thunder Digest:
Factoring in Walker’s six made shots from beyond the arc, his outing Monday was the first such performance ever, per Tommy Beer of BasketballInsiders.com:
CJ Fogler of The Cauldron predicted the reaction of Jordan, the Hornets’ primary owner, to Walker’s performance:
Though Walker was far from the 81 points Kobe Bryant scored against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006, he did set the high-water mark on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, per Elias (h/t ESPN Stats & Info):
ESPN Stats & Info also shared a graphic of Walker’s shot tracker, showing most of his connections were on the left wing:
Walker is probably best remembered for his remarkable 2011 national championship run with the Connecticut Huskies, leading the team to the title after a five-game win streak in the Big East tournament just to qualify.
Since breaking into the NBA, he hasn’t quite lived up to his collegiate hype, but he appears on the rise this season, as Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey noted:
Following Monday's eruption, Walker is averaging 19.9 points on 43.3 percent shooting—both career-high numbers—with 5.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. His five-percentage-point increase in three-point shooting percentage has likewise been critical, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer highlighted:
The Hornets entered the season with ambitious hopes after acquiring do-it-all forward Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers, but they had struggled as of late, dropping nine of their past 10 prior to Monday's double-overtime win. Perhaps Walker’s outing is just the spark they need.
After the game, Hornets forward Marvin Williams said he knew early on that Walker was en route to a historic day, courtesy the Hornets:
Despite his remarkable outing, Walker still felt he could've played better, per Bonnell:
Yet Walker was all smiles when meeting fans in the tunnel postgame, as the Hornets' team account showed:
What does Walker have in store for an encore? We'll find out Wednesday as Charlotte travels to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.