Cody Zeller: ‘Going To Have Chance To Make A Run’

After dropping six of seven, the Charlotte Hornets have won back-to-back games, this after beating the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-103, at home on Tuesday.

Cody Zeller had a solid game for Charlotte, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds to go with two assists.

“I try to be efficient,” Zeller said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I try to play hard and bring energy to the team. It was a good win for us tonight.”

All five starters reached double figures for the Hornets, including Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson, who scored 21 apiece, as well as Mo Williams, who scored 20. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, meanwhile, added 12 points and six rebounds.

“Everyone’s playing really well for us, especially Mo,” Zeller said. “He brings a lot to our team. We know that they have to respect Al in the post, and Mo is a good perimeter scorer for us, so he creates a lot of (opportunities) for myself.”

Williams, 32, was acquired from Minnesota in February and has averaged 22.8 points ever since. He’s not just looking for his own shot, either; Williams had 13 assists against the Lakers.

“He’s made a huge difference, especially recently,” Zeller said. “He’s kind of gotten into a rhythm and learned how to play with us.”

Charlotte shot 49.4 percent from the floor Tuesday, led by Jefferson’s 9-of-19 shooting performance. Jefferson also had a game-high 16 rebounds and a game-high three steals.

Jeremy Lin scored a game-high 23 points off the bench for the Lakers and had team-highs in assists (eight) and steals (two). He also grabbed six rebounds.

But it wasn’t enough. The game was tied at 50 at halftime, Charlotte led 74-70 through three quarters and then held on for the one-point win.

“We’ve been playing well recently,” Zeller said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

Charlotte (25-33) began the season 4-15 but has since gone 21-18.

“Even when we weren’t winning earlier in the season, we were saying, ‘We’re in the Eastern Conference, so we’re going to have our chance to make a run,’” Zeller said. “I think that’s what we’ve done recently. Hopefully we can keep it going. This is when the games really matter, so it makes it fun.”

Charlotte plays a pivotal game at Brooklyn (25-33) on Wednesday, as the Hornets and Nets are tied for the final playoff spot in the East. The Nets are coming off two surprising wins: they beat the Mavericks, 104-94, in Dallas on Saturday and then beat Golden State, 110-108, on Monday.

Zeller, of course, will be guarding Brook Lopez, who scored 26 in the win over Golden State and is averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

“They got a lot of talented players,” Zeller said. “They beat us pretty easily at home earlier in the season, so we got to come out ready to play.”

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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