By Sam Perley, hornets.com
A disastrous third quarter for the Charlotte Hornets ultimately sealed their fate as they fell to the Wizards, 109-106, on Wednesday, Dec. 14 in Washington, D.C. While the offensive issues that plagued the team two days earlier against Indiana were righted a bit, more defensive lapses and turnovers fueled a 33-11 second-half run for the Wizards as they handed the Hornets their third-consecutive defeat. This also marked Charlotte’s fourth-straight road loss to Washington dating back to the 2014-15 NBA season.
Trailing 108-102 with 17.8 seconds left in the game, a Kemba Walker layup, a Nicolas Batum steal and another layup by Cody Zeller cut Washington’s lead down to just two points in a matter of moments. John Wall sank one of two free throws on the other end for Washington, giving the Hornets one final chance to tie things up with under 10 seconds remaining. After Batum’s potential game-tying shot came up short, Walker grabbed the loose ball and raced out to the arc for one final attempt. Over two Wizards defenders, Walker got off the three-pointer, which agonizingly rattled around the rim and out as the clock expired, clinching the win for the Wizards.
Hornets Player of the Game
On the day of his 28th birthday, Nicolas Batum racked up a team-high 20 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two steals in the loss. This is Batum’s third 20-point performance of the season, which is now tied for the second-highest total of any player on the team.
Wizards Player of the Game
Marcin Gortat had a magnificent outing for Washington, finishing with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, a game-high 12 rebounds (five offensive boards), two assists and two steals in the victory. The Polish center has now racked up double-digit rebounds in seven of his last eight appearances as well as 13 double-doubles overall this season.
Cody Zeller notched 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, two rebounds and two blocks… Kemba Walker tallied 17 points, six rebounds and a team-high nine assists… Marco Belinelli added 16 points off the bench (4-of-6 from three-point range)… Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11 points) and Frank Kaminsky (10 points) also finished in double figures for the Hornets… Charlotte was outscored in the third quarter, 38-23… The Hornets totaled a season-high 18 turnovers while the Wizards had 14 giveaways… Washington won the rebounding battle, 41-33, which was a season low for Charlotte.
Quote of the Night
“This game was won [by Washington] because of two things. [Bradley] Beal got going and we made some mistakes and physicality. [Marcin] Gortat dominated that game. That was the difference in the game. Offensive rebounding, our turnovers led to transition baskets and [Gortat] dominated the third quarter-dominated. That was the difference in the game. It had very little to do with the fourth quarter.” – Steve Clifford.
Quote of the Night
“This game was won [by Washington] because of two things. [Bradley] Beal got going and we made some mistakes and physicality. [Marcin] Gortat dominated that game. That was the difference in the game. Offensive rebounding, our turnovers led to transition baskets and [Gortat] dominated the third quarter-dominated. That was the difference in the game. It had very little to do with the fourth quarter.” – Steve Clifford
The Hornets will square off against the Celtics at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 in Boston. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.
Friday Dec 16 – 7:00 pmTD Garden, Boston, MA
Fox Sports Southeast – Charlotte Hornets App & WFNZ 610 AM