Wizards snap 16-game losing streak with 112-100 victory over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) shoots over Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 8, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) shoots over Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 8, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Feeling the weight of a 16-game losing streak, the Washington Wizards dug in and played one of their best quarters of the season.

Kyle Kuzma scored 28 points, Deni Avdija added 18 and the Wizards snapped their skid with a 112-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. Washington outscored the Hornets 44-24 in the final period.

“I think the pride kicked in,” Avdija said. “We were like, man, we lost so much in a row, we’re trying to get out of this slump. This is our chance right here. We knew that’s our chance. We have tough games coming up and this game was close, it was down to the wire, and I think everybody was like, OK, enough.”

Washington had matched a team record of 16 consecutive losses set during the 2009-10 season, but the Wizards avoided claiming the mark alone. Charlotte now has the NBA’s longest active skid at six games despite a 32-point, 12-rebound effort from Miles Bridges.

One game after squandering a 21-point second-quarter lead against Orlando, the Wizards let a 15-point advantage get away and trailed by 10 early in the fourth. But on a night when both teams had a terrible time shooting 3-pointers, Kuzma and Avdija were able to hurt Charlotte down the stretch by attacking the basket.

“That’s their game. That’s their strength,” Washington interim coach Brian Keefe said. “When we’re playing good, we’re making quick decisions and those guys are getting downhill.”

Washington led 85-82 after a 17-4 run and was able to close out its first victory since Jan. 29 at San Antonio. The Wizards hadn’t won at home since Dec. 29 against Brooklyn.

“It’s definitely not fun,” Avdija said. “You definitely can take the good out of it, like progress, learning. You get to make mistakes and learn from them, but it’s definitely not fun. I think we showed character today. At some point in the game, I felt like we were breaking apart again, and we were all, like, letting go of the rope a little bit. And I don’t know, something changed.”

Washington shot 16 of 20 from the field in the fourth.

Charlotte has been without guard LaMelo Ball (ankle) since late January, and Seth Curry and Cody Martin were out Friday with ankle problems of their own. Washington was missing Marvin Bagley III (back) and Landry Shamet (calf).

The Hornets missed their first 17 3-point attempts and they trailed 39-24 after Kuzma’s three-point play in the second quarter. Charlotte closed within three at the half.

“We’re not going to be a high-powering offensive team,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We don’t have that kind of roster right now, and that ball’s got to move.”

Washington had its own drought from long distance, missing 13 straight attempts from beyond the arc in the second and third quarters. The Hornets went up 57-56 on a dunk by Bridges.

Kuzma nearly had a triple-double, finishing with nine assists and eight rebounds. Avdija had 14 rebounds, and Washington’s Richaun Holmes had 14 points and 11 rebounds without missing a shot.

Kuzma, Avdija, Jordan Poole and Corey Kispert played the whole fourth quarter for the Wizards. Holmes played all but 29 seconds.

UP NEXT

Hornets: Host Brooklyn on Saturday night.

Wizards: At Miami on Sunday night.

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