Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
When this game started it appeared that the Wizards had everything, they needed to grab their second victory over the Hornets this week, that was until they played the fourth quarter and allowed the Hornets to battle their way back to a 124-117 victory.
“We didn’t play the same way we did in that last game,” said Kyle Kuzma about the loss tonight in comparison to the 20-point victory in the first game this week.
The effort from the bench players late in the game was about as good as it could have been. Most of the entire game, that second unit along with Daniel Gafford kept the Hornets scoreless from long range and until late in the fourth quarter, they held the Hornets to 8.69 percent from three-point range. Not too many teams are able to grab victory with that type of long-range shooting percentage.
Kuzma scored 17 points for Washington, failing to reach 20 for the first time this season. Tyus Jones added 16 as the Wizards fell to 0-2 in Group B play.
“We have to be better mentally to close out these games. We started this game up 15-3 and they got the better of us at the end. We will work on the close out process before we head to Brooklyn on Sunday,” said Wizards Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr.
Gordon Haywood led the way for the Hornets with 27 points and LaMelo added 25 points. Both players combined for a horrendous 5 for 12 from long range, of which three of those baskets were pivotal in the final run over the final 1:45 of the game.