WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kristaps Porzingis scored 36 points and matched a career high with eight 3-pointers, and the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-104 on Wednesday night to stop a three-game skid.
Deni Avdija had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Bradley Beal had 17 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who broke open a close game in the third quarter and handed the Hornets their fifth straight loss.
Porzingis scored 18 points in the third, including a personal 8-2 run in which he made a 3, blocked a shot attempt by JT Thor and drained another 3. The 7-foot-3 Latvian concluded the burst with a 15-foot jumper to put the Wizards ahead 86-74, their largest lead to that point.
P.J. Washington scored 20 points, Terry Rozier had 19 and LaMelo Ball added 16 for Charlotte, which entered the night only one game clear of the Eastern Conference cellar. The Hornets came in ranked 30th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage and went 9 of 31 (29%).
The Wizards took three of four games in the season series between the struggling franchises. All three previous games were decided by eight points or fewer, and this one appeared headed in that direction during a first half in which neither team led by double digits. Washington was ahead 32-31 after the first quarter and Avdija’s 3 sent the game into halftime tied at 62.
Beal, a game-time decision because of left foot soreness, picked his spots to attack and struggled with his outside shot, but he looked healthy when he drove from the wing midway through the third quarter and elevated over the outstretched arm of Mark Williams for a dunk that put Washington up 72-67.
The Wizards expanded their advantage in the fourth quarter with Porzingis on the bench. He re-entered midway through the period and put the game away when he made his seventh 3 from the top of the key for a 105-82 lead.
The Hornets are now in their fourth skid of five games or more this season and things don’t get easier — Charlotte plays at Boston on Friday night.