The Hornets tried something different tonight, electing to play competent basketball at the outset instead of immediately digging themselves into a hole. They even went so far as to build a five point lead in the first four minutes of the game. Miles Bridges broke out of his mini-slump in the first five first quarter minutes. The teams traded baskets all quarter, with a buzzer beater by Moritz Wagner setting the first quarter margin at 34-33 in favor of the Hornets.
The bench units kept up the high octane scoring the starters initiated. Malik Monk and Jordan McRae led their respective teams with a few buckets apiece. The Davis Bertans show suddenly broke out in the middle of the quarter. The Latvian big man hit three 3-pointers in an 83 second span. The Hornets kept it close though, and then scored the last six points of the quarter to take a six point lead into the half.
The points kept rolling in as the second half got underway. The teams combined for 26 points in the first five minutes of the quarter, the last eight of which came courtesy of Wizards jump shots, forcing a James Borrego timeout. The Hornets lost their lead, but 3-pointers by Nicolas Batum and PJ Washington and a Terry Rozier layup off a nice dime from Malik Monk reestablished the Hornets on top. The Hornets got a couple real nice drives by Bridges and Monk against Bertans, which helped give the Hornets a six point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Bridges early in the fourth quarter gave him a career high 24 points. Monk followed with a layup and 3-pointer shortly after, and then Bridges hit another three, this time after scooping up an errant pass intended for Cody Zeller. The last bucket put the Hornets up 13 and forced a Wizards timeout. The home team responded with 11 straight points, to pull within two before Devonte’ Graham buried a 3-pointer. They took the lead a short time later on a Jordan McRae 3-pointer. They wouldn’t let up from there as the Hornets went cold from the field. Terry Rozier committed a couple backbreaking turnovers in the final minutes as the Hornets tried to claw back into the game. In total, the Wizards outscored the Hornets 31-11 after calling a timeout in a 13 point hole.
Miles Bridges was the clear player of the game for the Hornets, nabbing eight rebounds and three steals to go with his 31 points. The Hornets guards got theirs as well. Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, and Malik Monk each scored an efficient 19 points.
The Hornets have now lost three games in a row, but they have a chance to get back in the win column against the Chicago Bulls in Spectrum Center on Saturday night.