Lance Stephenson had been waiting to exhale. And after Friday nights’ heroics he finally can.

Stephenson took an inbound pass from Marvin Williams with less than three seconds remaining in double-overtime and banked in a 33-foot jumper to propel his host Charlotte Hornets to a 122-119 win over Atlanta.

Afterwards, the 24-year-old Stephenson, who signed with the Hornets as a free agent last summer, raced to the scorer’s table and pounded on his chest as he was mobbed by teammates and saluted by fans.

“For me to hit that big shot, there was a lot of emotion that came out,” said Stephenson. “I got real hyped. “I can’t hit a swish yet, so I tried to throw it off the backboard, and it went in.”

Stephenson finished the night with 17 points and 13 rebounds in 47 minutes. After leading the league in triple-doubles with the Pacers last season, Friday night represented the first time he has so much as posted a double-double since joining the Hornets.

“I haven’t made a shot all season long,” he said of his less than 30 percent shooting over Charlotte’s first six games. “Hopefully that will give me more confidence to keep hitting more shots.”

Stephenson and the Hornets travel to Los Angeles Sunday night to face Kobe Bryant and the winless Lakers.

[Photo Credit: Matt Britt]

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