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Wizards' late comeback falls short in 116-110 loss to Hornets
The Wizards were dealt another tough blow to a shot at a playoff spot by Charlotte on Friday night in D.C. After having lost both visits to the Hornets on the season, Bradley Beal and co. had a chance to even the season series and draw a game closer to one of the three teams they’re chasing in the East. A slow start was too much to overcome on the night, as Kemba Walker and Charlotte withstood a late push to win, 116-110.
Bradley Beal poured in 40 points (five rebounds, five assists) in a valiant effort to lead the Wizards back from deficits that reached as many as 21 points in the third quarter. After chipping away to start the fourth, a 13-3 run cut what had been a 17-point Hornets lead down to just six with 4:28 remaining. But a quick 6-0 Charlotte run returned its lead to 12 and cruise to victory.
Turnovers plagued the Wizards from the beginning, with eight of their 16 turnovers coming in the first quarter. Overall, the Hornets scored 27 points off of Washington miscues, and it led to an early 40-26 deficit after the first quarter. Kemba Walker scored a team-high 28 points Friday, and he and Jeremy Lamb (18 points), combined for 17 in the first to take control first.
" We passed the ball well,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “We've been doing that for a while now. Turnovers we usually get 13 a game, maybe a little more, and we had 14 at the half. That snuck up on us. But, like I said, guys gave great effort. We had a chance to save this, maybe not our night. We fought back and made it interesting. We came up a couple of stops short."
Tony Parker (16 points off the bench) took Charlotte to their first big lead in the second. The Hornets went up 21 points on Parker bucket early in the frame, but Beal, Jeff Green (20 points on the night), and Jabari Parker (17 points, 11 rebounds) engineered some offense to stay in the game going into the half. A 15-3 Wizards run was the key, and Washington got as close as five points with 1:48 left in the half. But as was the case all night, turnovers had the Wizards taking two steps forward and one step back. A pair of late turnovers in the second keyed an 8-0 Charlotte run fueled by 3-pointers from Lamb and Nicolas Batum (16 points) that returned the lead to 13 at the break.
In the third, the Wizards were unable to find any footing, trailing by at least 15 points for all 12 minutes. That made it hard to mount a full comeback in the fourth. In addition to turnovers, Washington couldn’t control the paint like they needed to, allowing 15 offensive rebounds at getting outscored 56-48 in the paint.
“It’s tough,” said Jeff Green. “We put ourselves in the hole but we kept fighting. We got ourselves in a good position but we didn’t make plays at the end of the game tonight.”
Part two of a back-to-back is next on the docket for the Wizards as they welcome Memphis to D.C. on Saturday night. Tip-off against the Grizzlies is set for 7:00 P.M. ET.