Hornets Beat Another Conference Leader, Win 4th Straight
Bridges, Ball, Plumlee All Double-Double, Charlotte’s Defense Allows Season-Low 87 Points
For the second straight home game, the Hornets hosted one of the NBA’s two conference leaders and for the second straight time, they emerged victorious – this time a 97-87 win over the Washington Wizards – thanks to a spectacular defensive effort.
Charlotte started somewhat sluggish on offense, although still stayed within striking distance until the midway point of the third. Trailing 63-54, Charlotte rocked a smaller lineup mixed with some zone defense and closed the frame on a 21-2 run to take a 75-65 lead. Washington didn’t get any closer than five as the Hornets put an end to the Wizards’ five-game winning streak.
“We were having trouble getting to the rim with their size, length and finishing,” said Head Coach James Borrego afterwards. “That lineup of LaMelo [Ball], Cody Martin, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jalen [McDaniels] and Miles [Bridges] really turned the game. It was both sides of the ball. We were scoring. We were able to get our zone set. That was a big part of turning this game.”
Terry Rozier scored a team-high 19 points for Charlotte, with Miles Bridges (17 points, 10 rebounds), LaMelo Ball (11 points, career-high 14 assists) and Mason Plumlee (11 points, 13 rebounds) all double-doubled. Washington got 20-point performances from both Bradley Beal (24) and Daniel Gafford (20) in the loss.
Charlotte held the Wizards to just 8-of-42 from three-point range, which included a 1-of-15 clip in the third quarter. The 87 points allowed by the Hornets were also a new season low by eight and the 36 second-half points conceded were their second lowest since the start of last season.
This was also the team’s first win of the season when scoring under 100 points, an encouraging sign considering how reliant it had been on scoring to start the campaign. Even when shots weren’t falling early on, Charlotte continued to grind against a talented Wizards squad, later emerging with a hard-fought double-digit triumph.
“We talked about [the defense] this morning,” added Borrego. “You look at the three previous games, we’ve won those games with our defense. Same thing tonight. Our defense kept us in this game. It sustained us. Historically, this would have been 15-point loss had we not scored our normal output. But tonight, our defense just stayed with it.”
Added Bridges, “I keep preaching defense, defense, defense. That’s what’s winning us games. We held them to 14 points in the third, 22 in the fourth. Really after the first quarter, we locked in our defense and it got us going. As long as we stay focused and do what we need to do on the defensive end, I feel like we have a great chance of winning every night.”
The Hornets’ four-game homestand wraps up on Friday night when the team plays host to the visiting Indiana Pacers starting at 7 PM ET at Spectrum Center.