The Charlotte Hornets beat themselves Wednesday.
The Hornets average the second-fewest turnovers in the NBA at 11.8 per game. Being low-foul and low-turnover is essential to a team with a small margin for error. Wednesday against the Washington Wizards, the Hornets broke with that formula and paid for it, committing 18 turnovers in a 109-106 loss at Verizon Center.
The Hornets had a chance to force overtime, down three with possession with 9.6 seconds remaining. Nic Batum and Kemba Walker both missed 3-pointers in that last possession.
The Hornets are now 0-3 on this five-game road trip and now face tough matchups with the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks on back-to-back nights. The Hornets fell to 14-12.
Batum led the Hornets in scoring with 20 points, plus eight assists. Marco Bellinelli added 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Kemba Walker scored 17.
Point guard John Wall led the Wizards with 25 points and 10 assists. Five other Wizards reached double-figure soring.
Three who mattered
Batum: He had his share of turnovers, but he dominated for much of this game.
Wall: His penetration and takeaway defense were big for the Wizards.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Was more of a factor offensively.
▪ Always amusing that Wolf Blitzer does a “Situation Room” introduction to that night’s matchup at Wizards home games.
▪ The Hornets started out with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, rather than Nic Batum, guarding Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.
▪ The Hornets shot a remarkable 12-of-18 from the field in the first quarter. The offense is so much more efficient when the Hornets are mindful of driving to the rim. Charlotte scored 12 of 30 points in the paint.
▪ Nic Batum scored or assisted on nine of the Hornets’ 12 first-quarter baskets. Wednesday was Batum’s birthday.
▪ Bravo to the NBA and the players association for agreeing to a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. Times are way too good in the NBA to risk a lockout.
▪ The Hornets made six of 15 shot attempts from 3-point range in the first half.
▪ The Wizards doubled up the Hornets in first-half points in the paint (32 to 16).
▪ Kidd-Gilchrist, who has struggled offensively of late, made all four of his first-half shots.
C+ OFFENSE: They shot well, but those turnovers defined self-inflicted pain.
D DEFENSE: Every Wizards starter scored in double figures and shot a decent percentage.
C COACHING: It’s going to be tough to finish with a 2-3 record on this road trip.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell