CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dwight Howard grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds and added 15 points, Kemba Walker scored 31 and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Brooklyn Nets 111-96 on Thursday night.
Dante Cunningham had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who lost their eighth straight game and fell to 19-41.
D'Angelo Russell, starting for the first time since November knee surgery, scored 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
All five Charlotte starters scored in double digits and the Hornets hit 52.4 percent from 3-point range. Charlotte improved to 25-33 with its second straight victory.
Howard had a double-double — 10 points and 11 rebounds — after 10 minutes of play in the first quarter. But the Hornets still needed Walker's big fourth quarter, when he had 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting, to secure the victory.
Both teams were playing their first game since the All-Star break, and had to shake off the accompanying rust that resulted in roller-coaster play. The Hornets held a 55-53 halftime lead after hitting 46 percent behind the arc. Charlotte then had a 13-0 run to start the third quarter, sparked by seven points from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Hornets outscored the Nets 31-22 in the fourth.
Nets: Have yet to win in February. Their last win came Jan. 31 against Philadelphia. . Russell started for the first time since Nov. 11. The guard had arthroscopic surgery to "remove loose bodies" in his knee. Russell returned to the lineup Jan. 19, but has been playing in a reserve role. . Allen Crabbe's second 3-pointer was his 140th of the season, moving him into sole possession of seventh place in Nets' single-season history. . Both Russell and DeMarre Carroll received technical fouls in the game.
Hornets: Howard had his fifth game of 20 or more rebounds this season, one shy of the most by a player in Charlotte franchise history. . Charlotte has just 10 home games remaining this season. . This marked the first game the Hornets played since general manager Rich Cho was fired last week. Assistant general manager Buzz Peterson has assumed the position in an interim role.
Nets: Host Chicago on Monday.
Hornets: Visit Washington on Friday.
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