About that Charlotte Hornets winning out thing; scratch it.
The Hornets were sloppy with the ball and gave the lottery-bound Washington Wizards easy routes to the rim. That added up to a 113-98 Charlotte loss at the Verizon Center, a setback that will go far toward reducing the Hornets’ chances of home-court advantage in the playoffs.
The Hornets made up a 14-point first-half deficit to lead briefly in the third quarter, but could never seize control, despite playing in the bonus for the last 7 1/2 minutes of this game.
The Hornets are 46-34 and play at the Boston Celtics Monday night. The regular-season finale is Wednesday at home against the Orlando Magic.
The Wizards, recently eliminated from playoff contention, improved to 39-41.
Three who mattered
Marcin Gortat: The Wizards center made 10 of his first 11 shots in assembling a 21 and 13points-rebounds double-double.
Marvin Williams: He was big in the third-quarter span when the Hornets briefly took back the lead.
Ramon Sessions: Was solid as the Wizards’ fill-in starter at point guard with 15 points and 11 assists.
▪ Hornets coach Steve Clifford said pre-game that Sunday’s noon start should serve as good practice for the unpredictable tip-off times the team could see during the playoffs.
▪ Something potentially encouraging about Monday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics; the Hornets are 11-4 this season in the second game of back-to-back sets. And obviously with Sunday’s noon start, the Hornets got to Boston far earlier than they would have normally following a game.
▪ The Hornets’ interior defense was terrible in the first half, giving up 30 Wizards points in the lane.
▪ The Hornets committed 10 first-half turnovers. They average an NBA-best 12.5 per game.
▪ Wizards guard Bradley Beal left the game in the second half with a sore pelvis.
▪ Wizards point guard John Wall sat out Sunday’s game with a sore right knee.
▪ Hornets small forward Jeremy Lamb was active Sunday after missing the Nets game with a toe strain.
▪ Troy Daniels was ahead of Lamb in Sunday’s rotation.
They said it
“I think this is hopefully a good learning experience. You know playoffs start and you’re going to have different routines; it could be nine at night or noon and you have to be ready to play at different times.” – Clifford on Sunday’s noon tip-off.
“I’ve been saying this for two weeks, we haven’t played a fully good game.” – Clifford.
“We didn’t really set a tone early-on. They were able to get a lot of things in transition, in the half-court, spreading us out and getting in the paint.” – Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky.
D OFFENSE: The guards couldn’t generate much and the turnovers were costly.
F DEFENSE: There was little or no impediment to various Wizards getting to the rim all afternoon.
D COACHING: This game had major stakes and the Hornets just didn’t look ready in a rare noon tip-off.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell