A huge second half turnaround pushed Washington past Charlotte 118-111 on Wednesday night.
The Wizards started out sluggish on offense, but put out a decent effort on defense in the first half. After 15 minutes of game action, Washington was shooting just 40 percent from the field but the Hornets had committed 6 turnovers, uncharacteristic for the sure-handed squad.
John Wall picked up 4 early steals that helped Washington establish an uptempo pace early in the game, even though they were struggling to score. Wall was nearly on pace for an unusual triple-double at the half with 5 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals. The bench combined for 22 first half points as Washington trailed, 63-51
In the second half, Wall and his backcourt mate Bradley Beal came out with a ferocity that led to several rim-rattling slams and changed the momentum in the game. Washington outscored Charlotte 36-18 in the third quarter to turn a 12 point deficit into a 6 point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Kelly Oubre, Ian Mahinmi, and Jason Smith played so well on the evening that Scott Brooks kept them in for nearly the entire final period, as the team continued to play great defense in the second half.
However, a late run capped by a Frank Kaminsky three cut the Wizards lead to 5 at 106-101 with just over 2 minutes to play in the game. But Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter hit two huge threes to give Washington an 8 point lead that sealed the victory.
John Wall led the way for Washington's starters with 23 points, 13 dimes, and 6 steals. Brad added 19 points, and Jason Smith and Kelly Oubre came off the bench to score 17 and 15 points respectively.
Kemba Walker was the only one to get it going for Charlotte, dropping 37 points.
Washington’s bench stung the Hornets
The Wizards’ starters struggled for most of the first half, but the bench was able to keep the game from getting out of hand early. They put up 22 combined points in the first half, highlighted by 3 threes by Jason Smith.
Smith finished with a career-high five threes, but he wasn’t the only one who had a big night. Kelly Oubre added 15 points, and the rest of the bench had solid nights as well.
The turnover mini game
Charlotte is a historically good team at holding onto the ball. Washington forced 16 and only gave up 12 of them. That was the key difference in an otherwise close ballgame.