PJ Washington Highlights vs Lakers – 12/23/22
Washington, Ball, Rozier All Score 20+ PTS; Lakers Goaltend Hayward’s Late Go-Ahead Layup
In one of the more unusual finishes one might ever see in an NBA game, the Charlotte Hornets stuck together and came out on top thanks largely to a last-second, go-ahead, goaltended layup in a thrilling 134-130 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
PJ Washington led the visitors with a team-high 24 points – 10 in the fourth quarter – five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in the victory, marking his first 20-point game since Dec. 5. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier also joined him in the 20-point club, each putting up 23 points with Ball adding team-high marks in rebounds (8) and assists (8).
Charlotte’s offense started to get humming in the second quarter, leading to 40 points on a season-best 69.5% shooting in the frame and a knotted 67-67 halftime score. The Hornets then started the third on a speedy 21-5 run, eventually amounting to a 10-point cushion heading into the fourth. But Los Angeles kept battling back, tying the game at 130 with 42 seconds left.
Following turnovers by both teams, Gordon Hayward wrangled an offensive rebound for Charlotte and quickly put up a second-chance layup attempt. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook each went for the block, with James’ hand hitting the bottom of the backboard so hard that basket interference was called. James had a chance for redemption at the other end, but lost his shoe and fell down driving to the basket, yet still managed to find Dennis Schröder in the corner. Mercifully, Schröder missed the shot and Washington ended it with free throws.
“I thought our ball movement was really good,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said after the game. “I thought Gordon was terrific at both ends of the floor. He played such a good all around game. Obviously, in the second half, Terry got going and PJ made some big, big plays there late in the fourth quarter. It’s hard to win on the road. We’re 2-2 on the trip, which is good. Hopefully, we can build on that.”
Added Rozier, “We’ll take it. We don’t care if we win by half a point. It’s all about paying attention to details. The Lakers did a great job of fighting back the whole second half. Just pay attention to details and we got the win. That’s the most important thing.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. (19 points), Hayward (15) and Mason Plumlee (11) made it five Charlotte starters and six players overall scoring in double figures. While the Hornets’ defense still left a lot to be desired, the squad did manage to turn 17 Los Angeles turnovers into 32 points and as a whole, had 29 fast-break points on 11-of-13 shooting.
James poured in a game-high 34 points for the Lakers, who snapped a four-game winning streak at home against the Hornets with the loss. This victory for the Hornets also ended a 13-game losing streak to James – who missed the past three head-to-head meetings with injuries – and was only their second in 32 regular season matchups since James joined the Miami Heat for the start of the 2010-11 NBA campaign.
The Hornets will begin their second back-to-back of the road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, Dec. 26 starting at 10 PM ET. Follow all the action on Bally Sports Southeast and WFNZ FM 92.7.
Hornets vs Lakers Gallery ‑ 12/23/22
1/13LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 23: LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against Thomas Bryant #31 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Crypto.com Arena on December 23, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)