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Hornets can’t complete season series sweep of Wizards, fall, 107-93

A strong second half from the Washington Wizards was too much for the Hornets to handle.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets couldn’t keep up in the second half, and fell to the Washington Wizards, 107-93. Dwight Howard led the Hornets with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Malik Monk scored 17 points off the bench. Otto Porter Jr. led all scorers with 26, while John Wall scored 15 on his first game back from injury.

Charlotte didn’t shoot well to start the game, and didn’t hit a field goal for the first three minutes of the game. Washington jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but Charlotte responded with six points of their own to take the lead. That lead was short lived, however, as Washington hit two straight 3-pointers followed by an And-1 to go up 16-8. The Hornets the cut the score to one. In other words, it was a competitive first quarter.

The score remained close heading into final minute. Frank Kaminsky knocked down a floater as time expired, making it a 30-27 Wizards lead after one. Dwight Howard and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets with six points a piece in the first.

Malik Monk knocked down a 3-pointer to opened the scoring for both teams in the second. Kaminsky followed up a few possessions later with another floater to give Charlotte the lead.

Led by Monk, the bench unit held their own. The rookie scored seven in the quarter, and also dished a nice assist to Willy Hernangomez off a pick-and-roll. Aside from a few too many turnovers, Monk played well.

Charlotte led by four as the quarter wound down but a 3-pointer by Washington with a second remaining. As a result, Charlotte took at 51-50 lead into halftime.

Howard led the Hornets with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Hernangomez added a quiet but effective eight points and six rebounds. Aside from eight team turnovers, the Hornets played fairly well in the half.

Washington opened the second half with eleven straight points to take a 10 point lead. Bradley Beal got hot from 3, connecting on two in a row off nice finds from John Wall.

Charlotte responded with five of their own, as Howard continued to dominate the paint on offense. But Beal continued to shoot well from 3, and Charlotte found themselves down 13. Five straight points (and his first five of the game) from Kemba Walker cut the deficit to eight, but Washington remained in control thanks to strong 3-pointer shooting. Charlotte tried cutting into lead, but found themselves down 13 at the end of the third.

Washington’s lead didn’t really budge in the through the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. Charlotte again cut the lead to nine, but a 3-pointer from Otto Porter pushed it back to double-digits. A late comeback never came, and Washington pulled away.

I wrote in this morning’s preview that Charlotte might drop this one with Washington having plenty to play for while Charlotte didn’t. That proved true, as Washington came out in both halves the more determined team. Walker’s struggles shooting the ball didn’t help either, but the Wizards looked sharper, overall. Aside from Monk’s standout offensive bursts, no one played particularly exciting basketball.

The Hornets won’t have long to rest, as they return home to take on the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.