Walker’s big second half leads Hornets by Wizards
By Benjamin Standig
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, helping the Charlotte Hornets beat the Washington Wizards 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 scored 15 points, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 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 loss dropped the Wizards (34-25) into a fourth-place tie with Indiana in the Eastern Conference.
Charlotte scored 28 points off Washington’s 14 turnovers. Led by Kaminsky, the Hornets’ reserves outscored the Wizards’ backups 50-26.
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.
Otto Porter had 16 points and Markieff Morris scored 13 for the Wizards, who have 10 losses against teams with losing records this season.
Hornets: The win streak matches their season high set three previous times, most recently Jan. 31-Feb. 4. Charlotte defeated Brooklyn 111-96 on Thursday. … 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: G Ramon Sessions signed a 10-day contract. 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 point guard depth with John Wall (knee surgery) out another three to five weeks.
Hornets: Host Detroit on Sunday.
Wizards: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.
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