Walker’s 46 leads record Charlotte rout, Rockets soar

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Toyota Center.(Reuters/USA Today)

WASHINGTON: Kemba Walker scored 46 points Thursday in leading the Charlotte Hornets to a record-shattering 140-79 romp over visiting Memphis, one of the most lopsided routs in NBA history.

The 61-point victory margin was the largest in any NBA game since 1998 and marked only the sixth time in league history a team won by 60 or more points.

“It was fun. The crowd was into it. It was good to be a part of something like that,” Charlotte guard Jeremy Lamb said. “It feels really good.”

Walker sank a club-record 10 3-pointers and made 10 free throws, becoming only the third player in any NBA contest with so many of each.

“I would have never imagined (making 10 3-pointers),” Walker said. “I never thought I’d be able to shoot the ball like that, especially in one individual game.”

Walker’s total came in only 28 minutes, the shortest span to reach 45 points since the NBA shot clock debuted in 1954.

“He could do that every night,” Hornets reserve forward Dwayne Bacon said. “He’s a great player. Just being around him, watching how he prepares, just playing, is just amazing.

“It was another great night for him.”

The Hornets, who led 75-42 at half-time and 112-57 entering the fourth quarter, won their most lopsided triumph and inflicted the worst lost ever upon the Grizzlies, who have lost 22 of their past 23 games.

The victory came with Charlotte center Dwight Howard sidelined for accumulated technical fouls. He committed his 16th of the season on Wednesday in the same game where he scored 32 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in beating Brooklyn 111-105.

 Rockets defeat Pistons 
Eric Gordon scored 22 points while NBA scoring leader James Harden had only 21 points — 10 below his average — on 4-of-20 shooting but the Houston Rockets still managed to beat visiting Detroit 100-96 in over-time for their seventh consecutive victory.

The Rockets matched a one-season record with their 58th triumph against 14 losses — moving 4 1/2 games ahead of defending champion Golden State for the NBA’s best record with 10 regular-season games remaining.

Anthony Davis scored 33 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to their third victory in as many nights, a 128-125 triumph over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

Joel Embiid scored 17 points while Australia’s Ben Simmons had 11 rebounds and 10 assists plus six points in a 118-98 victory at Orlando, the 76ers’ fifth victory in a row, while Donovan Mitchell’s 26 points led Utah over host Dallas 119-112.

 Protests delay Kings win 
Sacramento beat visiting Atlanta 105-90 in a matchup played before only a few hundred spectators that began 20 minutes late after protesters blocked city streets and arena entrances in the California capital. Crowds were protesting Sunday’s fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in his grandmother’s backyard.