Hornets’ Mark Williams joined Bill Russell in history with latest performance
Charlotte Hornets rookie Mark Williams put up a career performance on Saturday and joined some legends of the game in the history books in the process.
Williams produced 18 points, 20 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot in a 108-103 win over the Miami Heat. He went 9-of-12 from the field in 29 minutes of work as the Hornets continued their season-long four-game win streak.
The 15th pick became the third rookie in history to record at least 15 points and 20 rebounds in fewer than 30 minutes, joining Bill Russell and Alonzo Mourning. He is also the fourth rookie in team history to haul in at least 20 rebounds in a game.
Williams sealed the win after scoring four points in the final two minutes, including a putback dunk to give the Hornets a five-point lead with 44.9 seconds left.
“It feels great to make those plays and to have those plays end up in a win,” Williams said. “It feels really good and (to) continue to build on that, especially for me, and build that confidence as we push through here.”
MARK WILLIAMS SEALS IT 🗣️
18 points (career-high)
20 rebounds (career-high)
Hornets win their 4th straight! pic.twitter.com/RlncYyVHyO
— NBA (@NBA) February 26, 2023
Williams spent much of the first half of the season in the G League in order to develop and adjust to the increased competition level of the NBA. The assignments were a great chance to learn different coverages and those minutes appear to be paying off.
He entered the rotation in late December and has seen a much larger role of late since the team traded Mason Plumlee at the deadline. He has started in each of their last five games and is averaging 11.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in that role.
“The more and more I play, the more comfortable I’m getting,” Williams said. “I think, offensively, just ready to catch passes from whomever — lobs, live balls, etc. Defensively, just communication and sliding my feet and guarding whomever, protecting the paint. I think I’m getting better and better each game and I’m just trying to build on that.”
With the Hornets likely looking ahead to next season, their final 20 games will give Williams a great opportunity to develop and build some positive momentum heading into his second year.
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