Hornets aim to sting visiting Wizards

( - The Charlotte Hornets are one of the hottest teams in the NBA and they'll try to keep that going Monday night when the Washington Wizards come to Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Hornets have won five straight, which matches the longest active winning streak in the NBA. Charlotte, which owns a two-game home winning streak, is alone in seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, a half-game better than both the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.

On Sunday, the Hornets made it five in a row with a 108-101 road victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Al Jefferson had 24 points and seven rebounds to lead the Hornets. Jefferson finished an efficient 10-of-14 from the floor. Mo Williams added 21 points and nine assists for the Hornets, who have won five straight and six of their last seven games on the heels of a five-game losing streak.

"In the first half we had no purpose in our play on the defensive end. In the second half we were a lot better," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said.

John Lucas' floater in the opening 18 seconds of the fourth quarter staked Detroit to an 86-78 advantage, but the Hornets responded with an extended 22-4 run to seize control.

Lance Stephenson netted nine of the first 12 Charlotte points during the surge, which was capped on a pair of Marvin Williams free throws for a 100-90 cushion with 2:41 remaining.

The Pistons never got within less than seven the rest of the way.

Charlotte will host the Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls during this stay.

The Wizards have yet to break out of their funk. They've lost two of the last three and are 4-13 dating back to late January. Washington has dropped its previous nine on the road.

On Saturday, the Wizards traveled to Milwaukee and left with 91-85 defeat.

Paul Pierce scored 14 points to lead the Wizards, followed by 11 apiece from John Wall and Garrett Temple. Marcin Gortat and Ramon Sessions both had 10 in the loss.

After nearly blowing a 35-point lead in a win over Miami on Friday night, the Wizards were never up by more than two against the Bucks -- and that only came in the last six minutes after they overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter.

Khris Middleton gave the Bucks the lead for good on a 3-pointer that snapped a tie with 40.8 seconds left. It was part of a 9-2 game-ending run by Milwaukee.

The Bucks went 10-for-20 from beyond the arc, with Middleton knocking down six of his nine attempts.

"We just didn't defend the 3-point line well," said Pierce. "They shot the 3- ball well, especially Middleton. We have to do a better job of concentrating on (Middleton) and running him off the 3-point line."

The Wizards play their next three at home following Monday's contest. The Memphis Grizzlies, Kings and Portland Trail Blazers all visit our nation's capital.

The Hornets have won both meetings this season between Southeast Division foes and the two will meet in Washington in 18 days. Charlotte has won straight in the series and four of the last five in Charlotte.