We may be onto something here.
For the second time in a week, the Hornets bounced back from a poor preseason performance with a victory against the Wizards. This time, Charlotte used a second half offensive explosion to pull away in the fourth and win, 96-86.
Al Jefferson led the offensive attack, finishing with 20 points (on 11-of-21 shooting) and eight rebounds, Kemba Walker returned to the lineup with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist put on a classic stat-stuffing performance — 12 points, 11 boards, two assists, four blocks and two steals. He shot 3-of-5 from the floor as well.
Charlotte opened the fourth quarter on a 20-1 run after entering said quarter trailing by two and never looked back. Heck, at one point, the second half shooting percentages looked as such — Charlotte 60%, Washington 14%. The Hornets shot just under 44 percent from the floor for the game, including 47.4% from 3-point land (a GREAT improvement over the 28.3% they came into the game shooting). Other positive notes:
- The Hornets outrebounded the Wizards, 41-37.
- The Hornets were a perfect 15-of-15 from the free throw line.
- After giving up 50 points in the first half, the Hornets held the Wizards to just 36 points in the second half.
- The Hornets finished with 13 steals.
- No new injuries! Hooray!
Not all was grand, though. Gary Neal's amazing preseason run came to a screeching halt. Neal finished the evening shooting 2-of-12 from the field, 0-of-5 from 3 and had a game-high six turnovers. Also worrying: the team only got to the free throw line 15 times, compared to the 31 Washington shot. The Wizards committed only 14 fouls all night.
Lance Stephenson missed the game tonight with a strained groin.
The team gets to enjoy a nice day off. And by day off, I mean travel day to Chicago most likely, as the team's next game is Sunday against the Bulls.