Wizards beat Hornets behind 36 points from Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-104 on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

Back in the win column

The Wizards took care of business on Wednesday night, at home against a struggling Hornets team, to snap their three-game losing streak in the final game before Thursday's trade deadline. That makes them winners of seven of their last 10 as they approach their last opportunity to make significant changes to their roster ahead of what they hope to be a playoff push.

Bradley Beal returned from a two-game absence due to left foot soreness, though the Wizards played without Kyle Kuzma (ankle) and Monte Morris (back). The Hornets, meanwhile, had LaMelo Ball for the first time in four meetings between the teams this year. Their season series has now come to a close with the Wizards winning three out of four matchups.

The Wizards will play next on Saturday at home against the Pacers. There will probably be some new players on the roster the next time they take the floor.

Porzingis erupts in the third

Kristaps Porzingis began this game 3-for-10 from the field before quite literally having the best quarter of his career. He went off for 18 points in the frame, a career-high. Even more amazingly, that was more than the Hornets scored as a team. Yes, Porzingis outscored the Hornets 18-to-15 in the third quarter.

Porzingis made four threes in the third quarter in a masterful shooting performance that changed the momentum of the game. The Wizards were tied at halftime and entered the fourth quarter up 12, as they outscored the Hornets 27-15 overall. Porzingis can take over games like few players can and this was the most extreme example of that yet. He had 36 points for the game, including eight threes to tie a career-high.


Avdija impresses again

It was another game with an impressive stat line for Deni Avdija, who continues to thrive in an adjusted offensive role since the Rui Hachimura trade. Avdija made his first basket on an aggressive cut to the rim assisted by Daniel Gafford. After that, he just knocked down open shots. Avdija ended the game with 20 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-5 from three. He also had 13 rebounds.

It was the seventh time in eight games since Hachimura was traded that Avdija reached double-figures in scoring. In this one, he found open space for teammates to set him up on drive-and-kicks. He also helped the Wizards make the Hornets pay for aggressive traps on the sideline. Those double teams left somebody open and often times it was him.

Kuzma, Morris out

Beal, Kuzma and Morris, all regular Wizards starters, were listed as questionable for this game. Kuzma and Morris weren't able to give it a go, Kuzma for a sprained left ankle and Morris with back tightness. It was Kuzma's second consecutive game missed, while Morris' injury wasn't revealed until the team's injury report was released the day before.

Morris was a game-time decision, so he was close to playing. Kuzma, on the other hand, was ruled out earlier. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr., though, did indicate he made progress with a workout that day. The Wizards also have two days off before their next game. Kuzma will have extra time to rest, but we should know more on Friday when they practice.

What happens next?

Thursday's trade deadline is likely to bring some changes to the Wizards' roster, to what degree is the question. At this point, it looks like they will be buyers rather than sellers, given they are on the cusp of the postseason and have generally been trending upward over the last 20-to-25 games.

It's probably safe to expect something unexpected. Two years ago the Wizads got Gafford and last year they acquired Porzingis, while neither player was strongly linked to them in rumors leading up to the deadline. The fact they went after a player the caliber of Porzingis was a bit surprising given they weren't considered buyers at the time.