PJ Washington Hornets NBA

FILE – PJ Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets shoots a free throw during the second quarter of a basketball game against the Miami Heat at Spectrum Center on January 29, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. David Jensen/Getty Images/AFP

PJ Washington scored a career-high 43 points to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 137-134 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder had a chance to send the game into overtime at the buzzer, after a long inbounds pass with 2.8 seconds left deflected into Jalen Williams’ hands just outside the arc.

But Williams’ 3-pointer bounced off the back of the rim, giving the Hornets (26-51) their third consecutive win — all against Western Conference opponents in the thick of the playoff race.

The Thunder (37-39) have lost three of their last four.

Charlotte missed 11 free throws, but Oklahoma City missed critical free throws down the stretch to keep the Hornets on top.

With 15.9 seconds left and the Hornets up 134-132, Washington was called for goaltending and a foul, apparently tying the game on Williams’ drive. But the goaltending was overturned, and Williams missed the first of two free throws.

Josh Giddey’s free throw a moment later pulled the Thunder within one with 4.2 seconds left, but Giddey missed the second shot and Svi Mykhailiuk grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws to force Oklahoma City to hurry a 3-point try at the buzzer.

Charlotte was plenty short-handed, with Gordon Hayward out with a sprained left thumb while Terry Rozier (right foot discomfort) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (right shoulder strain) each missed a third consecutive game.

Oklahoma City was without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who suffered a left ankle sprain in the third quarter Sunday in Portland.

Isaiah Joe scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Thunder, while Giddey and Williams added 31 each. Giddey’s total was a career high.

Washington scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, as the Hornets stormed back to take control after entering the quarter down 99-93.

He finished 16 of 24 from the field, hitting five 3-pointers, as Charlotte shot 55.3 percent.

The Hornets led 123-110 with six minutes to go before the Thunder ripped off a 19-6 run to tie the game with about two minutes remaining.


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