Wizards Overtake Hornets with Decisive 4th Quarter

Hayward, Rozier, Bridges All Score 20+ PTS, Charlotte Lets One Slip Away in Washington
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Gallery | James Borrego Postgame | Gordon Hayward Postgame | Miles Bridges Postgame

For the past few years, the Charlotte Hornets have been one of the better NBA teams when it comes to pulling out clutch-time victories. On Monday evening in Washington, they fell 124-121 to a Wizards squad that sits atop the league rankings in this particular category so far this season.

Gordon Hayward (27 points), Terry Rozier (25 points; 18 in the fourth) and Miles Bridges (23 points) all had 20-point games for the Hornets in the loss, with Bridges adding season highs in rebounds (14) and steals (4) to notch his sixth double-double of the campaign.

Charlotte trailed by 13 after the opening frame before outscoring the Wizards, 39-18, in the second quarter to take a 64-56 lead into the break. Washington came roaring back though, using an 11-0 run at the start of the fourth to pull back in front by five. The Hornets regrouped to go ahead by four with 5:17 to go, but Kyle Kuzma’s three well-contested 3-pointers with under three minutes remaining proved to be the deciding factor for Washington.

“I thought the game turned at the start of the fourth quarter,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “They went on an 11-0 run right out of the gate. Not getting stops, not getting back, we couldn’t find a bucket there either. They played well, they made shots. We had plenty of shots to win this game tonight and we just didn’t. Give them credit. They made more plays, more shots than us tonight.”

Kuzma finished with a season-high 36 points and matched a season high with six three-pointers, four of which came in the fourth quarter. Bradley Beal added 35 points in 43 minutes for the Wizards, who were missing eight mostly reserve/non-rotational players because of Health and Safety Protocols. Washington also went 28-of-31 from the line, while the Hornets were 7-of-13.

The loss moved Charlotte to 0-8 in the second leg of back-to-backs this season, with four of those defeats coming in overtime. Simply put, Washington – which moved to 15-3 on the year in clutch-time games – made timely shots when it needed to and got the necessary stops that the Hornets didn’t.

“It’s unfortunate we haven’t been able to perform well in these situations (back-to-backs),” added Borrego. “We had an opportunity tonight and just didn’t get it done. Every game is an opportunity. It’s disappointing tonight. We should have won this game. We could have won this game, but we just didn’t make it happen. We didn’t close out this game like we could have or should have. This was a missed opportunity, but we move on. I expect our guys to respond.”

The Hornets will now begin a three-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons starting on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7 PM ET.

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