Hornets Ride Record-Setting 1st Half to Win over Wizards

Charlotte Welcomes Back Coach Clifford, Starts 5-Game Homestand Strong

By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com


The Hornets entered Wednesday’s contest with two goals in mind - to have a good showing in the return of Head Coach Steve Clifford and to start their season-long, five-game homestand with a win over Washington. It was mission accomplished at Spectrum Center as Charlotte scored a season-high in points, including a franchise-best 77 in the first half, on the way to a 133-109 victory. Seven Hornets, including the entire starting five, finished in double-figure scoring, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s 21 points. Dwight Howard also recorded a double-double (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Coach Clifford picked up the win after missing the past 21 games.

Turning Point

Charlotte wanted to get off to a hot start on their home court as they look to improve their record at Spectrum Center in this five-game stretch and jumped on top of the Wizards quickly. The Hornets hit their first 10 shots from the field with every starter connecting on at least one bucket, including four-point plays from Marvin Williams and Kemba Walker, as Charlotte took a 23-16 lead in the first six minutes of play. Charlotte’s 10-straight field goals to start the game were the most consecutive field goals to start a game since 2002-03. The Hornets are one of only two teams to start a game with 10+ made field goals this season (Boston at IND, 12/18/17). While the Wizards were able to cut Charlotte’s lead to 38-36 by quarter’s end, the scorching start carried over into the second quarter as Hornets scored a franchise-best 77 points in the first half while building a 77-61 lead and coasted to the win in the second half.

Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Dwight Howard gear here)

Dwight Howard recorded his 691st career double-double and 25th of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds. It is Howard’s 16th game with 15+ rebounds this season, good for the third-most in the NBA (DeMarcus Cousins, NOP and DeAndre Jordan, LAC). Howard also added two blocks, two assists and two steals and was involved in a rare play in the NBA late in the game when Michael Carter-Williams was fouled but then ejected with Washington’s Tim Frazier when they both picked up double-technical fouls. With MCW out, Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks selected Howard off the bench to shoot the two free throws, which he knocked down. He finished 4-of-5 from the charity stripe on the evening.

Wizards Player of the Game

Bradley Beal did his best to keep the Wizards in the game early on and finished with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from long range. Beal added three rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in the losing effort.

Game Notes

The Hornets 77 first-half points mark a new franchise record for points in any half (previous: 75, done multiple times) on 31-of-48 (.646) shooting from the field and 7-of-14 (.500) from three-point range… Charlotte’s 77 points in the first half is tied for eighth-highest-scoring in a half by any NBA team this season… Including making their first 10 shots, the Hornets scored 38 first-quarter points on 16-of-24 field goal attempts (.667) and marked a high first-quarter point total at Spectrum Center this season (previous: 30 done multiple times)… Charlotte’s 133 points set a new season high for points scored (previous: 131 at SAC, 1/2)… The 24-point victory is the largest margin of victory for Charlotte this season (previous: 20 at SAC, 1/2)… Seven Hornets players scored in double-figures, including all five starters for the second consecutive game… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist recorded 21 points along with four rebounds and two assists. This is his second game with 20+ points this season… Marvin Williams scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range. Williams shot 100 percent through his first four shots. This is his fourth consecutive game with 3+ made three-pointers, a career-high streak of such games… Kemba Walker (19), Jeremy lamb (16), Frank Kaminsky (14) and Nic Batum (11) also hit double figures on the scoresheet… Charlotte outscored Washington 50-30 in the paint.

Quote of the Night

“They had everything. They had everything. Everything they wanted they had. Give them credit they were playing great basketball. Good to have Coach Cliff(old) back and I’m sure they were inspired by it and they played well. They made shots, they moved the ball, and they competed. They didn’t give us anything easy, and that’s the game.” – Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks

Next Up

The Hornets five-game homestand continues with a 7 p.m. tip on Saturday against the Miami Heat at Spectrum Center. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.