Charlotte Hornets Spoil Over the Wizards


The Charlotte Hornets (24-22) escape with the win over the Washington Wizards (17-29) 114-104 at Capital One Arena, after losing a close one against the Suns. The Hornets went on a 16-2 run at the 6:00 minute mark of the second quarter. It was back and forth from there until the fourth. Eventually, it was in the clutch when the momentum favored the Hornets, leading them to the victory.

The duo of Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward combined for 53 points. Together they kept the team ahead for the majority of the game. Hayward started the game rolling with easy baskets over in the paint, while Rozier closed it by having 7 of the last 9 points in the 5:00 minute mark of the fourth. Coming off the bench, Cody Zeller had a double-double (16pts, 12reb) while Devontae Graham (17pts, 5reb, 6ast) carried a bit of the offensive load as well.

The Rui Hachimura and Russell Westbrook connection carried a struggling Wizards team tonight in the offensive end. Rui Hachimura had the game of his life tonight who finished with a career-high 30 pts and 4 rebounds tonight. Adding to that, he was efficient going to the basket resulting in a 48% field goal percentage. Moreover, 3rd-year guard, Jerome Robinson had a solid night with 12 pts. But the bigger surprise I saw was Robin Lopez. He had 16 pts and 11 rebs from the bench. The Wizards’ inside presence kept them in the game most of the time during the 2nd half.

Star of the Game

As much as I would love to give it to either Rozier and Hayward for pretty much carrying the team tonight, I cannot deny the effect Russell Westbrook has on this team. He had a triple-double near the 2:00 hash of the 3rd quarter. I mean, saying this isn’t that exciting because it’s Russel Westbrook. But at the same time, it still ridiculous. All through the start till the end, he was magnificent; causing trouble to the Hornets defense. I would give him a lot of credit feeding Hachimura to get him his 30. In the end, Westbrook had 22pts, 15reb, and 14ast. That’s absurd! And this comes after a 35pt 21ast and 14reb night. I would wonder what the Wizards have in plan for Westbrook guessing that the team is heading for a rebuild.

With the numbers he’s putting, he would be great coming to any contending team that needs a playmaker. However, with a 7 for 20 shooting night tonight, his efficiency is what still holds him back from the respect he deserves. As a side note, his dunk over Biyombo with 30 secs left in the fourth was absurd. Definitely as they would call it now “Topshot worthy”.

Surprise Contribution

Every game that the Hornets play, there’s one player that shocks me for the way he plays in that specific night. Today, Cody Zeller takes the nod for me. I was surprised knowing he had a double-double early at the end of the third. I loved his hustle on both ends tonight and the way he cut for the team leading to easy baskets. Especially the pass from Cody Martin early in the third which was played beautifully. Also, I would love to give a mention to Miles Bridges and the Martin Brothers (Cody and Caleb). Both of them are starting to get into their groove, and have done a good job defending the best players from the opposite team.

Biggest Concern

Even with the win tonight, I wouldn’t see it as impressive as I would like. This victory is coming over the 12th seeded Wizards who are most likely not in playoff contention. And the fact that the Hornets almost lost concerns me. It was the interior defense that held them back from a wide-margin victory tonight. The Wizards are not much of a 3-point shooting team without Bradley Beal but it is their points in the paint that kept them close. The Hornets had 36 points in the paint while the Wizards had 56! Aside from the addition of playmaker, Brad Wannamaker, I would’ve loved another addition of a big man to this team.

With that being said, Miles Bridges has the potential to be a super athletic Draymond Green type. Even he doesn’t have the I.Q that Draymond has, he has similar qualities. Both come from Michigan State University, both are undersized defensive stoppers with the ability to shoot the three (2016 Draymond) and are agile and quick to run the offense. Interesting enough, from the lack of a defensive big aside from Biyombo, I believe Miles Bridge’s athleticism used efficiently can be an advantage to this team guarding against 1-5.

Next Game

The Charlotte Hornets would face a stacked Brooklyn Nets at Thursday, April 1 at 4:30 PM PST.

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