CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Road games have been a problem for the Washington Wizards over the past six weeks, and it's cost them badly in the NBA standings.
That's why their 95-69 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday was so important, coming against a team that had been playing well.
''We just want to get back to winning,'' said guard John Wall, who had 15 points and nine assists. ''We've had so many games lately, and haven't been ourselves. . Hopefully, we can keep improving off this game and keep doing well.''
Marcin Gortat scored 20 points, Bradley Beal added 14 and Kevin Seraphin 12 for Washington, which snapped a nine-game road losing streak.
''We just needed a win, we needed to play like this and win,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ''We knew that Charlotte was going to be one of the harder teams. They had won five in a row, and averaging almost 105 points in those wins.
''We knew those guys were firing on all cylinders, and we knew we had to come with our best stuff tonight.''
Washington shot 44 of 85 from the field (51.8 percent), and enjoyed a 49-37 rebounding advantage in beating the Hornets for the first time in three games.
''They had been beating us pretty handily,'' Wall said. ''We just wanted to come out and play the right way. We only have 18 games left. We want to try to get back to playing the way we played early in the season.''
Mo Williams scored 19 points for Charlotte, which shot just 32.5 percent (25 of 77) and committed 16 turnovers to tie its lowest-scoring game this season and end a five-game winning streak.
Al Jefferson added 14 points and Lance Stephenson 12 for the Hornets, who led twice in the first 2 1/2 minutes, the last at 9-8 on Williams' three-point play with 9:21 left.
But Washington took command with a flurry of shots, hitting seven straight field goals and 12 of 13 over the next 6 1/2 minutes to pull ahead 26-15 on Nene's dunk with 5:25 left.
The Wizards would go on to take a 36-21 lead by the end of the first quarter, and push that margin to 19 points early in the second quarter, going up 42-23 on Seraphin's jumper with 9:26 left.
''They were just more ready than we were,'' Jefferson said. ''They had a game plan, and probably had a little bad taste in their mouth, and they showed it.''
Wizards: Beal returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday's game at Milwaukee with a mild stress reaction in his right leg. However, forward Kris Humphries sat out for the sixth consecutive game with a strained left groin muscle.
Hornets: Williams - acquired in a trade from Minnesota on Feb. 10 - was named the NBA Eastern Conference's player of the week Monday after he averaged 19.5 points and 10.8 assists over four games (all Charlotte wins) last week.
Even with Monday's win, the Wizards have struggled over the past six weeks. After sitting 31-15 in the NBA standings on Jan. 27, Washington has gone 5-13 since. However, the Wizards still hold the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference's playoff race.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
''Obviously, they played very well and were on the attack early. In order to have a chance against them, you have to be able to at least make it hard on them. Our guys want to win, but we played a tired game. We never found the energy level we needed to make a real run at the game.'' - Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
Wizards: Host Memphis on Thursday.
Hornets: Host Sacramento on Wednesday.