Bench, Points Off Turnovers Fuel Charlotte’s Win in Washington
Walker, Lamb Lead Hornets to Crucial, Season-Series Clinching Victory Over Wizards
GALLERY: Photo Gallery
By Sam Perley
A huge first-half run set the tone for the Charlotte Hornets as they held off a surging Wizards squad for an important 116-110 road victory on Friday, March 15 in Washington D.C. This gave the Hornets a 3-1 season series win over their Southeast Division rivals and temporarily moved them into a tie with the Orlando Magic for ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Kemba Walker paved the way for Charlotte with a team-high 28 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in the victory. Jeremy Lamb added another 18 points, a team-high eight rebounds and two steals off the bench to compliment his former UConn teammate.
Trailing by one midway through the opening frame, the Hornets rode a 31-9 run into the second quarter to open up a 21-point advantage. Charlotte led comfortably for much of the rest of the game, but Washington eventually got the deficit down to five with just 1:56 to go.
Fortunately for the Hornets, a timely old-fashioned three-point play by Lamb and some key rebounds down the stretch helped put an end to Washington’s four-game home-winning streak.
“We just stayed together. We knew they were going to make some runs,” said Lamb. “It’s a big road win for us. We still got a chance to do something with the season. I’m proud of us. We were moving the ball really well. Tony Parker really kept us under control. We got out in transition. [Dwayne] Bacon played great on both ends.”
“It was about resiliency,” added Head Coach James Borrego. “It was probably one of our most resilient games of the season. We got off to a great start. They fought back… and made their run. We closed out the [first] half [well] and then we just stuck with it. Every time they made a run, we just answered back. Really proud of our group tonight.”
Nic Batum did a little of everything once again with 16 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists. Fellow Frenchman Parker returned from a two-game absence to tally 16 points and three assists and Bacon added 13 points in 29 reserve minutes. Filling in for Cody Zeller (left knee soreness) in the starting lineup, Bismack Biyombo chipped in 11 points and four rebounds.
Washington’s two-time All-Star Bradley Beal erupted for a game-high 40 points, five rebounds and five assists in 45 minutes. Jabari Parker had 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for his first double-double as a Wizard, while Jeff Green (20), rookie Troy Brown Jr. (10) and Trevor Ariza (10) also scored in double figures.
Charlotte’s bench outscored its Washington counterpart, 57-33 (+24) and as a team, scored 27 points (all in the first half) off 17 Wizards’ giveaways. The Hornets also edged Washington in paint points, 56-48, and held a 15-8 advantage in offensive boards.
The Hornets wrap up a four-game road stretch with a matinee showdown against the Heat, which gets underway on Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m. ET in Miami, FL.