Ball, Washington power Hornets to 120-110 home win over Spurs

Charlotte had seven players score in double figures

(AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)

CHARLOTTE — LaMelo Ball recorded the ninth career triple-double while P.J. Washington and Mark Williams each had a double-double as the Hornets notched a 120-110 home win over the visiting Spurs on Wednesday.

With 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Ball had one of his best outings of the season for the Hornets (17-43), making a few 3-pointers late in the game to stave off a rally by the Spurs (14-45).

“I think one underrated characteristic is that he’s very competitive,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said of Ball. “He missed a free throw up eight with 2:45 left. It was a front end of a one-and-one and his head was down. You can see how badly wants to win. I think that’s obviously a great trait for anybody, but it’s really good when the guy has a chance to be an elite player.”

During the game, Ball — at 21 years, 177 days old — became the second-youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Only LeBron James was younger.

With the 10-point win, the Hornets now enter the All-Star break with a two-game win streak that provides some momentum as it follows losses in seven straight. 

Seven different Charlotte players reached double figures in scoring on Wednesday night. Washington had 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Williams had 12 points and 10 rebounds. 

Gordon Hayward added 16 points and six rebounds, and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 10 points with nine assists starting in place of an injured Terry Rozier (hand sprain). Coming off the bench, newcomer Svi Mykhailiuk had a dozen points and rookie Bryce McGowens added 11. 

Malaki Branham led San Antonio with 23 points, and Keldon Johnson had 21.

“Our effort was good, which has been positive,” Clifford said. “It doesn’t matter what level but when you win a game, there’s just such a different feeling or vibe amongst the group. I think everybody will go wherever they’re going to go feeling good about it, and then hopefully come back having done some work. Not fighting those little conditioning things that pop up right after the All-Star break.”