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Washington scores career-high 43 as Hornets top Thunder

March 28, 2023 at 10:05 p.m.
Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) shoots in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jaylin Williams (6) and forward Jalen Williams, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- P.J. Washington scored 22 of his career-high 43 points in the fourth quarter, and the Charlotte Hornets rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 137-134 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Three Thunder players scored career highs -- Isaiah Joe with 33 points and Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams with 31 each. But Williams and Giddey each missed one of two free throws in the final 16 seconds, and Williams missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

It was a potentially costly loss for Oklahoma City. The Thunder were looking to strengthen their position in the Western Conference play-in race despite being short-handed. Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the day fourth in the league averaging 31.3 points per game, sat out with a sprained left ankle.

Charlotte was short-handed, too. Terry Rozier (right foot discomfort) and Kelly Oubre (strained right shoulder) sat out for the third straight game and Dennis Smith (sprained right toe) also did not play.

The Hornets were coming off two wins over the Dallas Mavericks, who also need victories to get into the Western Conference playoffs.

Joe hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the second quarter to give the Thunder a 68-57 lead.

Oklahoma City took a 99-93 lead into the fourth, but the Hornets battled back. Former Thunder guard Theo Maledon scored, was fouled and made the free throw to put Charlotte ahead, 104-103, with just under 10 minutes to play.

Maledon hit a 3-pointer with six minutes left to give Charlotte a 123-110 lead. The Thunder responded with a 7-0 run, with six of the points coming from Lu Dort, to stay in the game. Oklahoma City tied the game at 129 on an acrobatic layup by Williams with just over two minutes to play, and it was close the rest of the way.


Hornets: Maledon got his second start of the season. He finished with 19 points and nine assists. ... Nick Richards had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Kai Jones added 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Thunder: G Lindy Waters (left foot plantar fasciitis) sat out. ... Giddey scored 11 points in the first quarter. ... F Aleksej Pokusevski returned after a leg injury, playing for the Thunder for the first time since Dec. 27. He went scoreless in 10 minutes.


Hornets: Host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Thunder: Host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

ATLANTA -- Dejounte Murray sank three free throws with 2:14 remaining to give Atlanta the lead and added a fall-away jumper with less than a minute left to lead the Hawks to a 120-118 win over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Murray led Atlanta with 29 points and Onyeka Okongwu added a season-high 21. The Hawks remained tied with Toronto, which beat Miami 106-92 on Tuesday night, for the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers held out starting forward Isaac Okoro (left knee soreness) and center Jarrett Allen (strained right groin) and were led by Donovan Mitchell's 44 points. Mitchell, who surpassed 10,000 career points, tied LeBron James' Cavaliers record of10 games of 40-or-more points in a season.

With Atlanta's win, NBA- and Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee clinched the Central Division title.


TORONTO -- Pascal Siakam scored 26 points, Scottie Barnes had 22 points and a career-high 12 assists and Toronto beat Miami.

O.G. Anunoby scored 22 points, and Precious Achiuwa and Fred VanVleet each had 12 as Toronto won for the 10th time in 11 home games.

Tyler Herro scored 33 points and Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 12 rebounds as Miami lost its second straight. The Heat are 15-22 on the road.

Miami played without leading scorer Jimmy Butler, who sat because of a sore neck.


WASHINGTON -- Kristaps Porzingis had 32 points and 13 rebounds, and Washington boosted its flickering postseason hopes with a victory over Boston.

The Wizards, playing without Bradley Beal (left knee soreness) and Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain), pulled within 2 1/2 games of Chicago for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington has six games remaining in the regular season.

The Celtics had their three-game winning streak snapped. Jayson Tatum led Boston with 28 points, and Jaylen Brown contributed 18 points.

Deni Avdija matched a career high with 25 points and added 10 rebounds for Washington. Monte Morris scored 19 points.

photo Charlotte Hornets guard Theo Maledon (9) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins, left, defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
photo Oklahoma City Thunder guard Isaiah Joe (11) dunks in front of Charlotte Hornets guard Svi Mykhailiuk (10) and forward JT Thor, center, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
photo Charlotte Hornets guard Bryce McGowens (7) drives past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
photo Charlotte Hornets forward Kai Jones (23) is fouled by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Tre Mann, right, as he drives between Mann and forward Aleksej Pokusevski, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Print Headline: Washington scores career-high 43 as Hornets top Thunder


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