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Zeller scores 19, Hornets beat Wizards 98-93
By STEVE REED
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Charlotte Hornets know their playoff hopes are slim.
That hasn't deterred Marvin Williams and his teammates from thinking they still have a shot to reach the postseason for the third time in the last four years.
Cody Zeller scored 19 points and the Hornets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 98-93 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. Williams had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Kemba Walker had eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets handed the Wizards their second straight defeat.
Charlotte is four games back of Miami for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with 13 games remaining.
"Everyone knows how bad we needed this one, man," Williams said. "We're in a tight, tight spot right now. We don't have very much room for error. We're chasing some really good teams for the last couple playoff spots. We still believe we can do it."
The Hornets looked focused on defense, limiting the Wizards to 37 percent shooting from the field, including 31 percent in the first half.
Walker hit a clutch 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, coming off a screen at the top of the key to give the Hornets a 93-86 lead with 1:23 left.
Beal answered with a 3-pointer and then stole an inbounds pass at midcourt and dunked to cut Charlotte's lead to two with 17 seconds remaining.
Marco Belinelli was fouled with 13 seconds left but only made one free throw, giving the Wizards a chance to tie with 14.7 seconds to play. But Beal couldn't complete the comeback, missing a step back 3-pointer from 28 feet from the left wing with 10 seconds left.
Williams helped seal the win with two free throws.
"Bradley made the other 3-point shot prior to that. It was a good look," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "Other than that, I'm not disappointed in that."
Brooks said he had "nothing to complain about" when it came to his team's effort.
"I just wish we would have made more shots," Brooks said.
Wizards: Markieff Morris missed his second straight game because of an illness. ... Outscored the Hornets 18-6 in fast-break points.
Hornets: Are 14-4 when holding a lead entering the fourth quarter at home. ... Williams made his 351st 3-pointer in the first quarter, moving past D.J. Augustin into sixth place in franchise history. ... Outscored the Wizards 40-28 in the paint. ... Current Washington Redskins and former Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman attended the game on Cam Newton bobblehead night.
Nic Batum returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a migraine.
Batum responded with eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes.
"He's such a unique player," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "He helps in every phase of the game. He's a terrific player so when you lose a guy like that, it makes it hard."
WALL GETS A TECH
John Wall was not thrilled with getting a double technical foul for a confrontation with Charlotte's Frank Kaminsky in the first half. Kaminsky was initially complaining about being called for a foul. But Wall then started talking to Kaminsky and both received techs.
"I see guys cussing refs out and taking the ball from refs and they're not getting technical fouls," Wall said. "They need to stop showing favoritism to certain players. If you are going to give techs out be consistent both ways it."
Wizards: Head on the road to face the Celtics on Monday night in a game that could have playoff seeding implications.
Hornets: Host the Hawks on Monday night.
Updated March 18, 2017