PJ Washington impresses, Hornets fall in preseason clash in Boston

Mitchell Northam

The Charlotte Hornets fell in their preseason opener Sunday night in Boston, 107-106, but no one will remember the final score of this game against the Celtics.

What was memorable about the preseason clash was the performance of PJ Washington. In his debut, the rookie from Kentucky led the Hornets in scoring with 16 points, making six of seven shots from the floor. Washington sank a trio of three pointers, corralled seven rebounds, dished out two assists and was on the dunking end of a Terry Rozier feed for an alley-oop that looked way too easy.

Washington, 21, also had a block and a steal in his 19 minutes of game action. The 12th overall pick from this past year's draft entered the game in the second quarter, posing as a small-ball center, and connected on his first six shots of the game.

“I thought PJ was fantastic tonight," Hornets coach James Borrego said after the game. "He shot the ball with confidence. High IQ basketball player. He looks like a real player out there.”

In addition to Washington's stellar performance, second-year forward Miles Bridges notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. Bridges had just one double-double in his rookie year. Unfortunately, Bridges led the team in turnovers with six.

Tying with Bridges for the team-lead in minutes played was Caleb Martin. The undrafted rookie wing made the most of his chance to shine with 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.

In his Hornets' debut -- against his former team -- Rozier had nine points and nine rebounds over 22 minutes. It's also worth mentioning that Rozier didn't have a turnover.

Not appearing for the Hornets in their first game of the preseason was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (illness), Malik Monk (right toe), Joe Chealey (right ankle), Thomas Welsh (DNP) and Josh Perkins (DNP).

More Highlights

Notes

  • In the Hornets' first five possessions, they turned the ball over twice and missed three shots from behind the arc.
  • Devonte' Graham, Marvin Williams and Willy Hernangómez were the first players off the bench. Graham had previously been listed as probable with an illness.
  • The Hornets had a 17-point lead in the third quarter, but the Celtics went on a 20-4 run to erase the deficit.
  • Kobi Simmons, playing on an Exhibit 10 contract, posted four assists and three points in 13 minutes of action.
  • On 38 attempts, the Hornets connected on 36.8 percent of their three-pointers. 
  • The Hornets edged the Celtics in the rebounding battle, 48-41.
  • Kemba Walker had 12 points and four assists in 20 minutes in his Celtics' debut.

Next up: The Hornets will host the Miami Heat on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Spectrum Center in their second preseason contest of the year.

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