Hornets reserve gets in on NBA’s recent historic scoring explosion

P.J. Washington slams it home against the Utah Jazz
P.J. Washington slams it home against the Utah Jazz / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Another day, another loss for the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night, as they fell at home to the Utah Jazz 134-122, dropping to 10-34 on the season. But there was certainly a silver lining, as P.J. Washington came off the bench to pour in a Hornets single game high for the season, 43 points on a ridiculous 17/22 from the field, including 7/9 from 3 point land. Of the 43 points, Washington scored 31 in the 2nd half and 22 in the 4th quarter alone.

The 43 points for Washington matches his career high, set last year in March against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Only four Hornets have ever scored more than 43 points in a single game; Gordon Hayward, Larry Johnson, and Kemba Walker - who did it on six separate occasions. 43 points also ties for the 10th highest scoring game for an individual in Hornets history. Kemba holds the Hornets record, with his 60 point masterpiece against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018.

The 43 point outburst from Washington comes on the heels of one of the craziest weeks of individual scoring performances in NBA history.

On Monday night, the world watched Joel Embiid drop a whopping 70 points in a home win over the Spurs, while at the same time Karl-Anthony Towns firing his way to 62 points of his own, albeit in a loss to our own Charlotte Hornets. Not to be outdone, only a few nights later on Friday, Luka Doncic blew up for an outrageous 73 points in a win over the Hawks, while simultaneously Devin Booker was going for 62 in a loss to the Pacers.

Prior to this week there had only been three occasions in NBA history where multiple players had scored 60+ points in the same day. The last such occasion occurred on the final day of the 1977-78 regular season, as George Gervin and David Thompson were battling for the scoring title. Now after 45 years, this feat has been achieved twice in the same week!

While P.J. didn’t quite come close to reaching the heights of his contemporaries around the league, it’s important to note that Washington did not start the game for Charlotte. This was the highest scoring game by an NBA player coming off the bench this season, and tied for the 17th highest scoring performance by a player coming off the bench all time (Jamal Crawford holds the record with 51 points). Washington also set a new Hornets franchise record for most points off the bench all time.

So even in a loss, it was a historic night of sorts for the Hornets, who could certainly use any excuse for excitement and joy lately. LaMelo Ball missed the game with ankle soreness, but Nick Richards also put up a career high 26 points to go along with 13 rebounds, while Miles Bridges played well in his showcase game, putting up 21 points, 9 rebound, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. The team looked good in the second half, but it simply wasn’t enough to erase a 35 point halftime deficit.