WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 109-103 on Monday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five observations from what went down...
Hornets win again
For the second time in five days, the Wizards played the Hornets, who like them are off to a surprisingly good start as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Once again, the Hornets got the upper hand to take a 2-0 series lead which could come in handy when it's time for playoff seeding.
Montrezl Harrell had a monster game with 24 points and 18 rebounds (seven offensive) in only 27 minutes. But outside of him, it was a rough night for the Wizards' offense. They shot 38.7% from the field and had 18 turnovers.
Meanwhile, Terry Rozier was unstoppable with 32 points and shot 8-for-11 from three. His three with 12 seconds to go put the Wizards down for good after they nearly erased a 17 point deficit for another thrilling comeback win.
The Wizards are now 11-6 on the season.
Cold from three
The Hornets are not a great defensive team and they usually give up plenty of threes, but you wouldn't know that watching them play the Wizards. Last week, they held Washington to 8-for-42 from deep, good for 19.0%. And in the rematch, the Wizards shot just 9-for-36 (25.0%) from long range.
The guys who had the roughest nights from three were Bradley Beal (18 points) who went 2-for-7, Spencer Dinwiddie (eight points), who shot 2-for-7 (and 2-for-11 overall) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (eight points), who was held to 2-for-6. The Hornets did a decent job contesting shots, but the Wizards had plenty of good looks rim out. That continues to be an issue for them this season. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has expressed confidence things will average out, but the sample size is growing.
LaMelo went off
The Wizards were able to hold star second-year guard LaMelo Ball to only 11 points last week in their loss to the Hornets, but could not shut him down this time around. He passed that total in a stretch of just 2:47 to close the first half with a 12-point barrage, capping off a 15-point second quarter. During that stretch, he dunked on Daniel Gafford (yes, Daniel Gafford) and pulled up to swish a three from 31 feet out.
The dunk was pretty amazing. He had a running start, but it was in the half-court. He blew past Caldwell-Pope, quickly weaved through traffic and then beat Gafford to the rim.
Ball ended up with a fairly ridiculous stat-line of 32 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block. Now read that stat-line keeping in mind he's only 20 years old.
There was a fairly incredible element to this game in that the Wizards outrebounded the Hornets by 31, 77 to 46, yet they lost. That is not something you see every day. Harrell led the way with his 18 boards, but Kyle Kuzma added 13 and Gafford had 10. Beal also had seven, while Dinwiddie and Deni Avdija had four apiece.
The 77 rebounds included 12 team rebounds in the box score, but they had 65 which were actually grabbed by Wizards players. The Wizards' franchise hasn't had 65 rebounds in a regulation game since 1989. They were also the most rebounds any team has had this season.
Bertans is close
The Wizards' 3-point shooting efforts may get a boost very soon as it sounds like Davis Bertans has a good chance to play Wednesday when the Wizards head to New Orleans to begin a four-game road trip. Bertans practiced with the Capital City Go-Go on Monday and Unseld Jr. said he was able to participate in live scrimmages.
Bertans will travel with the team and Unseld Jr. said he will return at some point on the trip. The sooner the Wizards can get him back, the better. Though he hasn't had a great season so far - 6.1 points per game, 33.1 3PT% - we all know what he's capable of.