Kemba Walker vs. Jazz: Stats, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Daniel Kramer@dkramer_Featured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2016

Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. The Bucks won 105-92. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Kemba Walker scored a Charlotte Hornets franchise-record 52 points, per the NBA on Twitter, in Monday's 124-119 win over the Utah Jazz, shooting 16-of-34 from the field with six three-pointers. 

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:

Michael Gallagher @MikeSGallagher

Kemba Walker joins the 2015-16 50-point club!!!! (Harden, Butler and Curry)

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:

Thunder Digest @ThunderDigest

Kemba is now 7th person since 1985-86 with 50 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. https://t.co/y6OJvoaOCZ

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:

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer

Kemba Walker becomes 1st player in NBA history w/ at least 52 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists & 6 three-pointers in one game. (h/t @bball_ref)

CJ Fogler of The Cauldron predicted the reaction of Jordan, the Hornets’ primary owner, to Walker’s performance:

Born Salty @cjzero

Kemba Walker sets Hornets franchise record with 52 points https://t.co/sNY1VOZGIM

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 @ESPNStatsInfo

Most points scored in a game on #MLKDay: Kemba Walker - 52 today Gilbert Arenas - 51 in 2007 (via @EliasSports) https://t.co/CxdZ2JLzLs

ESPN Stats & Info also shared a graphic of Walker’s shot tracker, showing most of his connections were on the left wing:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Here's what Kemba Walker's record-setting afternoon looked like: https://t.co/NIOL8Xw8Tw

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:

Andy Bailey @AndrewDBailey

Speaking of career makeovers: Kemba Walker has been amazing this season.

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:

Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell

Kemba is shooting 37 percent from 3-point range this season compared to 32 percent in previous seasons. Huge difference.

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.

Postgame Reaction

After the game, Hornets forward Marvin Williams said he knew early on that Walker was en route to a historic day, courtesy the Hornets:

Charlotte Hornets @hornets

"I told @KembaWalker when he had 17 points, that he was going to score 50 tonight!” https://t.co/DSE6VCG9Pq https://t.co/Mdqdj4NNwz

Despite his remarkable outing, Walker still felt he could've played better, per Bonnell:

Rick Bonnell @rick_bonnell

Kemba Walkers said he's upset with himself for making so many mistakes down the stretch versus the Jazz.

Yet Walker was all smiles when meeting fans in the tunnel postgame, as the Hornets' team account showed:

Charlotte Hornets @hornets

Man of the hour! 52 points makes a career high for Kemba Walker and franchise record! #NBAVote https://t.co/kVdfDJxeHj

What does Walker have in store for an encore? We'll find out Wednesday as Charlotte travels to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.


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