WASHINGTON -- Kristaps Porzingis missed eight of his first 10 shots on Wednesday night before returning from the locker room at halftime a different player, the best player on the floor, one who would singlehandedly dominate the Hornets in the third quarter to set the stage for a Wizards victory.
That's not hyperbole, either. Sure, four of his teammates were also on the court, but it was Porzingis who outscored the Hornets all by himself in the frame. He had 18 points in the third, his most ever for a single quarter. The Hornets had 15 points as a team.
"I knew it was coming," Porzingis said. "I hit the last three before the half and I had a feeling I was going to get it going in the second half."
Porzingis had 36 points for the game, including eight threes to tie a career-high. Though he started out 2-for-10, he ended up with an efficient shooting night of 13-for-22 (59.1%).
Porzingis shot just 1-for-6 from three in the team's previous game, a loss to the Cavaliers on Monday. He said he had a conversation with a group of assistant coaches about his mindset shooting the ball which helped him against the Hornets.
Porzingis said he shifted his approach from letting it fly naturally, to complete and total focus on making every shot. Whatever the trick, it worked.
"Once he hits a couple, he becomes extremely dangerous, shooting into a big basket," head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.
"He got a lot of looks in step-up pick-and-rolls and then he hit a couple trail threes. That helped open the flood gates a bit and give us some separation."
Porzingis was able to break loose against a Hornets team that ranks 25th in defensive efficiency this season and allows the sixth-most threes per game. The Wizards had a good night overall shooting from the outside, knocking down 15-of-37, good for 40.5%.
Porzingis accounted for more than half of those and took 14 total attempts.
"[The Hornets] play a little chaotic, they give up some threes. I had decent looks in the first half and I knew they were going to be there," he said.
This was Porzingis' 10th 30-point game of the season. That is double the amount he produced last year, splitting time with the Wizards and Mavericks.
Porzingis is now averaging 22.7 points per game, tied with his career-high set back in 2017-18 when he made the All-Star team with the Knicks. This season, he has set single-game career-highs for both points (41 on Nov. 28) and rebounds (19 on Nov. 30).
Porzingis continues to put together one of the best seasons of his career and Wednesday was another big night in a long line of them.