Walker leads Hornets by Wizards 122-105
By BENJAMIN STANDIG
Feb. 24, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — Charlotte found a way to beat the Washington Wizards again.
This time, it was Kemba Walker taking over for the Hornets.
Walker scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, and Charlotte beat Washington 122-105 on Friday night.
Frank Kaminsky added 23 points as the Hornets (26-33) improved to 3-0 against the Wizards this season. Charlotte jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first half and matched its season high with 17 3-pointers in its third consecutive win. Marvin Williams had 15 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 14.
Washington returned from the All-Star break with a rousing 110-103 win at Cleveland on Thursday, but could not keep the momentum going despite All-Star Bradley Beal scoring 33 points.
The Hornets are averaging 128 points against the Wizards this season.
"We have to play a certain way to beat these guys because of how good they are and how much talent they have on their team," Walker said. "So we're just really locked in against those guys."
The loss dropped the Wizards (34-25) into a fourth-place tie with Indiana in the Eastern Conference. Washington had won eight of 10, all coming without All-Star John Wall (knee surgery).
"We just didn't have energy, focus, no fight back, no nothing," Beal said. "They flat out whooped us."
Charlotte scored 28 points off Washington's 14 turnovers.
"We were a little careless for whatever reason," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We just did not have that edge that we've had for the last couple of weeks."
Led by Kaminsky, the Hornets' reserves outscored the Wizards' backups 50-26. Kaminsky hit six 3-pointers.
Walker, who scored 31 points in Thursday's 111-96 victory over Brooklyn, had 15 points in the third quarter and five 3s overall.
"The one thing about Kemba — you never have to worry about him because he's going to come alive at some point," Williams said. "He did it last night. He did it again tonight."
The first two head-to-head meetings took place in Charlotte, including a 133-109 rout on Jan. 17 as the Hornets set a franchise record with 77 first-half points.
Only by comparison did their first half on Friday appear unimpressive. The Hornets made nine 3-pointers on their way to a 67-55 halftime lead even though Walker was scoreless until sinking a free throw following a Beal technical with 57.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Washington closed to 75-69 in the third quarter when one of Beal's three 3-pointers capped a 9-0 run, but the rally fizzled from there. Charlotte entered the fourth quarter up 12 and held its largest lead at 122-100.
Hornets: The win streak matches their season high set three previous times, most recently Jan. 31-Feb. 4. ... C Dwight Howard received his 12th technical foul this season in the third quarter, matching Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook for second behind Golden State's Draymond Green (14).
Wizards: F Otto Porter had 16 points and F Markieff Morris scored 13 for the Wizards, who have 10 losses against teams with losing records this season. . Beal has scored 30 or more points in 12 games this season.
BACK IN SESSIONS
Ramon Sessions signed a 10-day contract with Washington. The 11-year veteran was waived in January by New York, his eighth NBA team. Sessions played in 110 regular-season games for Washington from 2015-16 along with 10 games during the 2015 playoffs. He provides additional depth at point guard with Wall out another three to five weeks.
Hornets: Host Detroit on Sunday.
Wizards: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.