The Hornets came out swinging. They jumped out to a 9-2 lead with 3-pointers and layups. Everything was working, even the coach’s challenge. Devonte’ Graham was called for a blocking foul against Bradley Beal, but upon further review, the call was overturned to a charge on Beal. Malik Monk and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were the first two subs off the bench again, and they sparked a run. The Hornets went on a 13-2 run to take a 15 point lead with 1:52 left in the quarter, but it was partially undone by a series of bad turnovers. The Wizards scored the last seven points of the quarter, giving the Hornets an eight point lead after one.
The run carried into the second quarter, only broken by a single Devonte’ Graham 3-pointer. When all was said and done, it was a 22-3 run before the Hornets could start stringing some buckets together. PJ Washington broke the run with a long 2-point jumper. He hit a 3-pointer a few possessions later after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist converted an offensive rebound and Terry Rozier scored on a floater over Beal. The spurt put the Hornets back on top. The teams combined for a flurry of made shots after that point, with the Hornets holding a slight edge. Bradley Beal drove the length of the court for an inexplicably easy dunk in the final seconds of the half, but he gifted the Hornets a point by jawing at the officials. At the half, the Hornets led by five.
The Wizards scored six unanswered points in the first 90 seconds of the second half, but the Hornets answered with a some strong interior play from Bismack Biyombo and a Devonte’ Graham 3-pointer. The Hornets played strong basketball on both ends of the court from that point forward, building up another 15 point lead. A series of tough 3-pointers from Davis Bertans kept the Wizards within striking distance. After three, the Hornets led by seven.
Bertans continued by scoring the first six points of the fourth quarter, including his second 4-point play of the game. Chris Chiozza added a three of his own to cap off a 17-0 Wizards run that wiped away their second 15-point deficit of the game. The teams went shot for shot with another for several minutes in an extremely compelling stretch of basketball.
Graham made a tough three, but it was answered by a Beal and-1. Terry Rozier crashed from the top of the key to tip in an offensive rebound, and Bertans answered with a wildly deep 3-pointer with Graham in his shirt. Graham answered by banking in an equally deep three at the shot clock buzzer on the Hornets next possession.
A pair of Rui Hachimura free throws put the Wizards up four, there largest lead of the game, but the Hornets quickly responded with five straight points. Miles Bridges hit a 3-pointer at the two minute mark to put the Hornets up four, but a Moritz Wagner and-1 kept the Hornets close.
Devonte’ Graham answered with his second and-1 layup in a two minute span. Terry Rozier made a free throw to put the Hornets up five with 35.7 seconds to go. That’s usually a comfortable place to be, but this is the Hornets. Davis Bertans hit another insanely difficult three to pull the Wizards within two and force the Hornets to get a shot up on their next possession. That shot was a Miles Bridges three from the corner, and he drilled it.
Six Hornets scored in double figures, and all of them reached that mark by the end of the third quarter. Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller both had double doubles—Biz finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, Cody with 14 and 10. Graham and Rozier combined for 46 points and 13 assists. Rozier chipped in eight rebounds as well.
The Hornets did a very good job limiting the high octane Wizards offense. Bradley Beal could not find any easy looks and finished with just 16 points. Davis Bertans’ otherworldly shooting and career high 32 points were the only reliable offense the Wizards could generate all night.
The Hornets will try to build off this win in Brooklyn tomorrow night.