Charlotte Hornets wrapup: Sunday afternoon’s game vs. Washington Wizards

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from Sunday’s 119-97 Hornets’ home win over the Washington Wizards that improved Charlotte to 11-13 overall:

… Washington stormed to a quick 7-0 lead before Charlotte put forth arguably its best effort of the season by taking charge of the game quickly. The Hornets led in each quarter and led by as many as 29 points before taking the 22-point victory. It was Charlotte’s largest margin of victory since it won 124-97 at the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 9, 2019. “Yeah, I feel like this was our best game,” Hornets reserve forward Miles Bridges said. “One of the only games where we really blew someone out. So, I feel like we played great all around – defense, offense, limiting our turnovers.”

… Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 26 points. Gordon Hayward added 25, LaMelo Ball had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Cody Zeller had 16 points and seven rebounds, Bridges 11 points and 14 rebounds and Malik Monk 11 points. Despite that offensive firepower, Hornets coach James Borrego credited the defense with the win. “The defense – that’s where it starts and ends for us,” Borrego said. “For us to climb the rankings in this conference and this league we’ve got to defend every single night.”

… Borrego felt the momentum for the win came from Friday’s 138-121 loss to the Utah Jazz. “I think this game started in the last two quarters against Utah,” Borrego said.

… P.J. Washington returned to action after missing two games with a sprained foot. He finished with three points, five rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes. “P.J.’s big for us and we need his versatility,” Borrego said. “It settles our lineup and it settles our rotation.”

… Devonte’ Graham missed his first game of the season with a strained left groin. Borrego called him “day-to-day” moving forward.

… With Graham out, Borrego used Rozier in more of a point guard role. Rozier pointed out afterwards that he was drafted into the NBA as a point guard so the switch wasn’t unusual for him. “It’s just part of being a ballplayer,” Rozier said. “It felt good bringing the ball up the court today.”

… Charlottean Anthony Gill made his first NBA appearance in his hometown. Gill, a 2011 Charlotte Christian graduate who played at South Carolina and Virginia, played three minutes with one rebound and one blocked shot. It was the ninth game of his NBA career; Gill this season became the fourth Charlotte Christian product to play in the NBA. He joined Todd Fuller, Stephen Curry and Seth Curry as former Knights’ standouts who have played in the NBA.

What’s next: Charlotte hosts Houston on Monday at 7 p.m. It’s the team’s first meeting against longtime assistant coach Stephen Silas, who is in his first season as Rockets head coach. Silas has spent 10 years as a Hornets assistant coach (2000 to 2002 and 2010 to 2018) in addition to assistant coaching stints with New Orleans, Cleveland, Washington, Golden State and Dallas before being hired in Houston before this season began.