When Washington guard Lester Hudson’s 20-footer at the buzzer found the bottom of the net, it signaled yet another late-game defeat for New Orleans and spoiled what would’ve been a game-winning trey by Hornets rookie Craig Brackins.
Brackins’ third three-pointer of the game, with just 2.2 seconds left, appeared to put New Orleans (0-4) in optimum position to secure its first win in Las Vegas. However, following a Wizards timeout, Hudson drilled a jumper as time expired.
New Orleans couldn’t hold on to a lead that had grown to as many as 16 points in the third quarter. Overall, Friday’s defeat was a microcosm of the team’s experience thus far in the desert since game action began. For example:
• For the third time in four defeats, the Hornets led in the fourth quarter but late-game execution proved costly. They had a crucial turnover with about 1:15 remaining on a simple advance of the ball into the frontcourt, something that’s plagued them all week.
• Quincy Pondexter had several highs, along with a few lows. The rookie from Washington showed his versatility, handling the ball more than he has in previous games, getting to the foul line eight times, hitting perimeter shots and even defending against John Wall one-on-one on key possessions. On the negative side of the ledger, Pondexter had seven turnovers.
• For a second straight game, Brackins was lethal from long distance, now 6-for-7 from three-point range over the past two games (in a total of just 34 minutes of playing time for him). He also was quiet for a few stretches, totaling 11 points and five rebounds.
• Aubrey Coleman was again prolific during a relatively brief stint, racking up 15 points in 13 minutes, while taking only seven shots from the field.
• Maurice Ager enjoyed his best game, tallying a team-best 23 points, along with five rebounds and four assists.