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Wizards slip late in Charlotte, 129-124 (OT)
The Hornets went on a 12-3 run to end regulation and won it in overtime
The Wizards led by nine with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets put together a 12-3 run to send Wednesday's game to overtime. Charlotte would finish off their comeback in the extra period, taking the game 129-124. John Wall scored 31 points and dished out 11 assists for his sixth double-double of the season, while Bradley Beal (22 points), Markieff Morris (14), Mike Scott (13), and Otto Porter Jr. (12) all scored in double figures.Photos | Box Score
The Wizards led by as many as eight points in the first quarter, with all five starters scoring four or more points in the opening period. John Wall and Bradley Beal struggled from the field in the first, with both shooting 2-for-8 from the field. Still, the rest of the team only missed two shots and Washington took a lead into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, both teams began to click offensively. John Wall had five of his 11 assists, and the Wizards went 14-of-21 (66.7%) from the field. Jodie Meeks led the Wizards with eight points in the quarter, while Jeremy Lamb starred all night for the Hornets and had 11 of his 24 points. The Hornets were in the bonus early and made 10-of-11 free throws, as Washington committed nine fouls. That was a story all night - the Hornets took 40 free throws to the Wizards' 22 and were in the bonus early and often. Even with the free throw discrepancy and Lamb's hot start, the Wizards led by four going into the half.
Washington opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run, but Charlotte countered soonafter with 16-2 run of their own. Dwight Howard, who finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, dominated the third quarter with 13 points and six rebounds. After the Wizards took control of the paint in the first, Howard exerted his will down low and took over in the second half. The Hornets led by five with 2:43 to go in the third, but the Wizards then closed the quarter on a 10-1 run to regain the lead 88-84 heading into the fourth.
The Wizards' second unit of Tim Frazier, Meeks, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mike Scott, and Ian Mahinmi put together a key stretch to begin the fourth quarter. In almost five minutes of action, the unit held the Hornets to only one field goal and kept the offense going. Scott in particular put together a strong performance, dropping 13 points, his seventh game in his last 12 appearances with double-digit points. The Wizards' starters gradually came back in and kept the lead going, leading by nine with 3:32 to go.
The Hornets would mount a comeback, converting 7-of-11 field goals in the final five minutes of regulation and scoring six key second chance points down the stretch. Beal missed a key free throw with 9.3 seconds left, leaving the Wizards only up two points. Kemba Walker, who was held in check most of the night but was tough to stop down the stretch, drew a foul with 2.0 seconds left and made both free throws to tie the game at 114. Howard then blocked a Beal 15-foot jump shot as time expired to send the game to overtime.
Overtime was five minutes of offensive efficiency for the Hornets and stagnant offense for the Wizards. Washington would only make 7-of-18 field goals in the last 10 minutes of the game, struggling offensively in crunch time while having trouble stopping the Hornets. Charlotte would close the game in the final minute of overtime after a Porter 3-pointer brought the game within striking distance. Wall led the Wizards with 10-of-15 shooting from the field in the second half and overtime for 23 points, but it was not enough to stop Charlotte's comeback effort.
It was not the way the Wizards wanted to go out before Thanksgiving, but the team will look over the film and learn from the loss. The Hornets out-rebounded the Wizards and took over the paint in the second half. The Wizards gave up too many offensive rebounds, which turned into 23 second chance points for Charlotte. Beal struggled from the field early, but Morris, Scott, and Wall picked him up by having efficient offensive nights.
Washington (10-8) hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at 7:00pm.