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Hornets hold on to win 137-134 over Thunder

P.J. Washington scored 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Hornets squeezed past the Thunder.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — P.J. Washington had the best night of his career as the Charlotte Hornets slightly bested the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

Josh Giddey missed a free throw for the Thunder with four seconds left on the clock that would have essentially set the game into overtime.

The miss left the Hornets up 135-134 in the closing moments of a thrilling fourth quarter. Charlotte added some closing free throws to make the final score 137-134.

Oklahoma City trailed by eight points with under four minutes remaining but pushed back to tie the game 129-129 with two minutes left.

Washington, Nick Richards, and JT Thor added scores to inch ahead 135-133 with 13 seconds left. Washington had 22 points in the fourth quarter, a career-high quarter for him and a season-high for the Hornets. 

As the Thunder tried to tie the game, Richards committed a foul that sent Giddey to the free-throw line. 

Giddey made the first shot. But not the second - leaving the Hornets in position to steal their third straight win over Western Conference teams desperate for victories as the regular season closes out.

The Hornets trailed 68-57 at halftime but were able to bounce back with a huge effort from Washington and the rest of the team.

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Washington had a career-high 43 points on the night. It's the most points scored by a Hornets player in a game since Terry Rozier had 43 points on May 9, 2021, against the New Orleans Pelicans. He was followed by Theo Maledon with 19 points.

Credit: AP
Charlotte Hornets' forward P.J. Washington (25) celebrates in front of teammates Svi Mykhailiuk and Theo Maledon (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma City had three players hit 30 points. Isaiah Joe had 33 points, and Giddey and Jalen Williams had 31 points.

The Hornets have won three straight games and continue to put a dent in Western teams' playoff hopes. Charlotte's next opponent is the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

The Thunder next face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday and are on the bubble for the play-in game for the NBA playoffs.

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