Jefferson has 18 and 12; Hornets stay hot, top Wizards 92-88
WASHINGTON (AP) Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds Monday night, and the Charlotte Hornets' hot January carried over into Groundhog Day with a 92-88 win over the Washington Wizards.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 13 points and 13 rebounds, Brian Roberts scored 18 points, and Gerald Henderson put in 17 for the Hornets, who have won six of eight to work themselves into playoff position in the perpetually middling Eastern Conference. They went 10-4 in January despite losing Kemba Walker to a knee injury that will keep him sidelined at least six more weeks.
John Wall, who continues to battle a sprained right ankle and migraine-like headaches that give him an aversion to bright light - not a good scenario for anyone in an NBA arena - scored 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting with 10 assists for the Wizards, who have dropped three straight.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 18 points and a season-high 11 rebounds.
The Wizards trailed by six with a minute to play, but Paul Pierce hit a mid-range jumper and Wall converted a three-point play after a hard-collision with Jefferson while driving to the basket for a layup. Washington then forced a shot-clock violation with 22 seconds remaining, but Wall missed an open layup that would have cut the lead to one.
Henderson and Roberts then each made a pair of free throws to put the game away.
Runs were few and far between in a game in which the largest lead was 12 by the Hornets in the third period. Charlotte opened the second half with a 10-0 spurt, but Garrett Temple had three third-quarter steals that led to baskets in an 8-0 period-ending rally that helped closed the gap for the Wizards.
Hornets: F Marvin Williams returned after missing two games with a concussion. ... It will be a home-and-home, back-to-back for the Hornets - but not for the Wizards - when the teams play again on Thursday in Charlotte. Charlotte gets two days off, while Washington has a road trip to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Wizards: Slumping C Marcin Gortat shaved his Mohawk and declared on Twitter before the game that he was ready for a ''fresh start.'' It didn't have much effect. He went 2 for 6 from the field and played only two minutes in the fourth quarter. ... Pierce moved past Alex English into 15th on the all-time scoring list with a 3-pointer in the first period. ... Fs Kevin Seraphin and DeJuan Blair were game-time decisions because of illness, but both played.
Hornets: Host Wizards on Thursday.
Wizards: Visit Hawks on Wednesday.
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