Eddie Jones feels he didn't get his share of respect from the Los Angeles Lakers. He's already earned some from the Charlotte Hornets, despite a few jitters in his green-and-teal debut.
Jones, acquired two days earlier in a major trade with the Lakers, looked lost in the first half but soon found the flow and scored eight consecutive Hornets points in a vital third-quarter stretch in Friday's 92-83 victory over the Washington Wizards.
"I had butterflies for a minute," said Jones, who was 1-for-5 with four turnovers in the first half but finished with 14 points. "But once I came out in that second half, I started feeling better. Better about the game. Better about myself. It was a great transition. Once I get to know the plays, I'll be a lot better."
David Wesley scored a season-high 23 points for the Hornets, who rallied from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to win only their second road game in 10 tries. Wesley had the big baskets down the stretch, including a 3-pointer to get the lead to six at 89-83 with 1:29 to go.
Washington, with a familiar collapse in the fourth quarter, didn't score again as the Hornets ended the game on a 24-6 run. It was the fifth game in six nights for the Wizards, who have had fourth quarters of 12, 11 and 12 points in their last seven games.
"My candid opinion was this was the end of five (games) in six (night)," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "The toll that it's taken in terms of the turnovers in terms of missing shots, in terms of rotating out defensively a step slow. ... We've had 12, 12, 11 in the fourth quarter, and we just cannot find scoring."
The teams were playing in the nation's capital for the second Friday night in a row, but it was a different Hornets team than the one the Wizards defeated 86-85 a week earlier. Paul Silas is now the coach, Glen Rice, J.R. Rei and B.J. Armstrong were shipped to the Lakers, and Jones was Charlotte's new Mr. Excitement, psyching the team up with ideas during the pre-game shootaround.
"It was like a different feel for the team," forward Chucky Brown said. "I felt pretty confident going out there just by hearing some of the things he was saying in the shootaround. I said, `Dang, we're going to be all right.' "
Jones, however, couldn't resist a parting shot or two at the Lakers, for whom he felt he was a good citizen for four years only to be rewarded with never-ending trade rumors.
"There wasn't a lot of respect for the things I've done in that organization. ... I get my name in the paper every week on being traded, and nobody coming to me telling me anything," he said.
Jones had his eight-point binge just as Washington's Mitch Richmond got hot in the third quarter. They matched baskets for a minute and a half, with Jones keeping the deficit in the five-to-eight point range.
Richmond got the lead to nine at 77-68 with another 3-pointer with 9:49 to play in the game, but lead quickly collapsed and the Wizards went only 5-for-17 with seven turnovers in the final period.
Calbert Cheaney, adjusting to his new role coming off the bench, scored a season-high 22 points for the Wizards. Juwan Howard had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Ben Wallace came off the bench to get 10 points and 12 rebounds. However, those three players combined for just two points in the final period.
Notes: Elden Campbell, also acquired in the Lakers trade, missed the game because of family obligations. He is expected to join the Hornets in time for Sunday's game at New York. ... Wizards rookie center Jahidi White will have surgery on his right knee Monday. He could miss up to four weeks. ... Wizards point guard Rod Strickland missed his fourth straight game with a strained right groin. ... Hornets forward Derrick Coleman missed his fourth in a row with a sprained right foot. ... Charles Shackleford got his second consecutive double-double against the Wizards with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
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