The Charlotte Hornets continued their stretch of good play with a 97-87 win over the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards. Washington controlled the game much of the first half, but Charlotte came out in the 2nd half locked in defensively – outscoring the Wizards 30-14 in the 3rd quarter. Charlotte has now won four games in a row after a five-game losing streak. Here are some observations from the Hornets win.
3rd Quarter Run:
The lineup of LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin, Kelly Oubre, Jalen McDaniels and Miles Bridges were a +17 in only six minutes in the 3rd quarter. Near the six-minute mark Charlotte was down 61-52, by the end of the 3rd quarter the Hornets were up 75-65. We’ve seen a willingness by coach James Borrego to stick with a lineup that has a hot hand and this group swung the tide of the game. The Hornets were never really threatened in the 4th quarter, doing a good job of keeping their lead – something that has been an issue at times this year.
Solid Contributions All Around:
The Hornets had a balanced attack, led by Terry Rozier. Rozier scored 19 points, followed by Miles Bridges who poured in 17 points. Kelly Oubre and Jalen McDaniels were good off the bench, scoring 14 and 11 points. LaMelo Ball and Mason Plumlee both scored 11 points. LaMelo had one of his worst shooting nights of the season, only shooting 4-18, but he contributed in other ways – setting a new career high in assists with 14.
Washington scored 87 points; the fewest number of points that Charlotte has allowed all season. The Hornets held the Wizards to only 37% shooting from the floor and 19% from 3. Charlotte also had a +11 advantage in rebounding. This was Charlotte’s best defensive effort by far this season, as they have been near the bottom of the NBA in defensive rating for most of the season. After last night’s performance Charlotte is 24th in defensive rating. The Hornets will need to continue to take steps to improve defensively to help take pressure off its 10th ranked offense.
Charlotte will look to make it five in a row as they take on the Indiana Pacers Friday night at the Spectrum Center.