Jeremy Lin's thee-pointer with 29 seconds left held off a late charge by the Wizards, who blew a 19-point lead to lose at the Charlotte Hornets for the second time this season.
Charlotte (25-26) went on an 18-4 run during a five-minute stretch of the second quarter led by Nicolas Batum (26 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists), Kemba Walker (23 points), Spencer Hawes (14 points) and Marvin Williams (13 points, 10 rebounds).
In three meetings, the Hornets have won two of them to give them the tiebreaker edge with one meeting left. In a 101-87 loss to Charlotte on Nov. 25, the Wizards only scored six points in the fourth quarter.
John Wall (23 points, 10 assists) led the Wizards (22-27) followed by Bradley Beal (22 points), Otto Porter (20 points), Marcin Gortat (11 points, 13 rebounds) and Jared Dudley (10 points).
- With Wall at the foul line, 2.8 seconds left, no timeouts and down 106-103, he had to make the first free throw but miss the second. He accomplished the first feat but botched the second. Wall slammed the ball off the backboard which is a violation. He had to hit the iron to give Drew Gooden and Gortat a chance at the putback to tie the score. Wall was caught by Batum's screen to free Lin for the clutch three, seeming surprised on the after-timeout play in which Lin buried an open shot on the dribble handoff.
- The Hornets went on a 16-2 run to take the lead 68-66 on a putback dunk from Batum. The pace and movement went out of Washington's offense which only could get jump shots and not easy buckets in transition. Gary Neal came in to give them a shot in the arm and he missed an off-balance jumper fading to his right and then hit the back rim on a three-point shot. Neal was 1 of 7 in 15 minutes. But this game was lost when the Wizards allowed a 10-1 run entering halftime. They led just 58-48 when it should've been much greater.
- Playing in his first set of back-to-back games since his stress injury Dec. 9, Beal came off the bench to control his minutes after playing 32 on Friday. He had seven points in eight minutes through the first three quarters and dropped in 15 in the fourth quarter. Beal isn't settling for long jump shots and instead has been keeping his dribble alive and using hesitation moves to create opening as he did with his pullup over Williams to cut the deficit to 101-100. He played a total of 20 minutes.
- Porter, who had reached just double figures once in the previous five games, had 17 points in the second quarter alone. With Beal still being restricted with his minutes, the Wizards must have him as a reliable third scoring option to take pressure off Wall to do everything. Porter had eight rebounds and four steals, too, showing the activity that he lacked in the last game vs. the Sixers. But he was invisible in the second half where he only scored two points and made a significant error. In a two-possession game with more than enough time left and Charlotte overplaying the three-point line, Porter forced a three-pointer that required him to double clutch. If he'd put the ball on the floor and driven to the basket, the lane was there.
- Dudley had a hot start as he made 4 of 5 shots but was a non-factor after that in 27 minutes.
MORE WIZARDS: Sessions dishes to Porter for and-1