Charlotte struggled in close games for a long time, and this is no doubt their biggest win of the season. It’s their third win in a row, and it comes against a division rival and legitimate playoff team. Now the Hornets are 8-9 and building momentum.
The one negative of this game was Nicholas Batum missed the second half with a left elbow contusion. It is the same elbow he hurt in training camp. Hopefully, it is nothing that will keep him out for an extended period.
As for the game, there were heroes all around. Dwight Howard, fresh off 25 points and 20 rebounds on Monday, had another dominant game with 26 points and 13 rebounds. There was a stretch in the third quarter where he scored 10 straight points. Howard led the team in scoring and was giving it to his old teammate Marcin Gortat all night. Howard also blocked Bradley Beal on the final possession of regulation to force overtime.
Not far behind him was Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker, who scored 24 points apiece. Lamb was crucial playing extended minutes for the injured Batum. During the first half, Lamb carried the stagnant Hornets offense. He also had two big shots in overtime and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists.
Walker rose to the occassion after a slow start. He converted two free throws that tied the game with two seconds remaining in regulation. He continued with a huge 3-pointer in overtime to give the Hornets the lead. Along with his 24 points, he had five rebounds and five assists.
Four other Hornets finished in double figures in the team’s highest scoring game of the season. Michael Carter-Williams had his career high as a Hornet with 11 points including two made 3-pointers. Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Frank Kaminsky all chipped in 12 points each. MKG played some great defense on Beal down the stretch and had a massive layup in overtime.
Washington shot slightly better than the Hornets for the game, 48 percent compared to 47, but this game was won at the free throw line. Charlotte made 33-for-40 from the line, while Washington made just 17. The Hornets also won the rebounding battle 48-43 and the turnover battle 13-12.
For the Wizards, John Wall was sensational with 31 points and 11 assists on 13-for-26 shooting. Beal, meanwhile, finished with 22 points. Markieff Morris had 14 points, Otto Porter chipped in 13, and Mike Scott finished with 12. No other Wizards were in double figures.
This was a much-needed win for the Hornets at home as the upcoming stretch continues to be tough. On Friday, the Hornets travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers, and on Saturday they are home to take on the San Antonio Spurs.