Miles Bridges got his first career start in place of Jeremy Lamb, who was moved into a sixth man role, presumably to try to jump start a bench unit that’s had its fair share of struggles lately. It looked like a failure early as the Hornets fell behind 28-16 in the first eight and a half minutes of the game. The Hornets gave up 38 first quarter points and took an 11 point deficit into the second quarter.
That’s when they started to look like an NBA team. After letting the Wizards shoot 70% from the field in the first quarter, the Hornets forced them to shoot just 26% in the second. On the offensive end, the Hornets made ten field goals in the paint, doubling up the Wizards in that stat. A Kemba Walker layup in the closing seconds gave the Hornets a five point halftime lead. Nicolas Batum made four first half 3-pointers en route to his team high 17 first half points.
After some back and forth, the Hornets grew their lead to as large as 16 with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter. The Wizards made a mini-run to get the lead back to nine, which was the margin heading into the final quarter.
The Wizards made a push early in the fourth quarter and cut the Hornets lead down to five, but the Hornets responded this time with four Cody Zeller free throws and a Kemba 3-pointer. The Hornets held a reasonably comfortable buffer from that point on. A Marvin Williams 3-pointer and a big Miles Bridges dunk put the game away with a couple minutes to go.
Miles Bridges represented himself well in his first career start. He finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals on six of nine shooting and never looked out of his element. Jeremy Lamb thrived in his familiar bench role, scoring 16 points and securing four steals of his own. Walker, Batum, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller completed the sextet of Hornets players that scored in double figures.
This game was a good tone setter for the post-All Star Break stretch. The Hornets have a quick turnaround, facing the Nets on Saturday night before hosting the Warriors and Rockets to close out this home stand.