The Charlotte Hornets find themselves on the playoff bubble, but a win over the Washington Wizards would certainly help their cause.
Most Charlotte Hornets (30-37) fans figured the team would struggle after the All-Star break and that has certainly been true. A tough schedule and several injuries have proven to be quite the obstacles for this team.
They’re still technically in playoff contention, however, and with two upcoming road games against divisional rivals, this next batch of games is of the utmost importance.
That batch includes the final game against the Washington Wizards (29-39). Charlotte is 2-1 against the Wizards this year and if they can win this one, it will be the second straight time the Hornets have won the season series against the Wizards.
Charlotte’s last game was a 106-118 loss to the Houston Rockets in Houston. They are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference.
Washington’s last game was a 100-90 win over the Orlando Magic. They are right behind the Hornets at the 11th spot in the East. As mentioned before, this is the final game in which these two teams will meet.
Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards
7:00 p.m. EST, Friday, March 15th, 2019
Capitol One Arena
Fox Sports Southeast
Cody Zeller – Knee (Doubtful)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Knee (Probable)
Trevor Ariza – Knee (Questionable)
Sam Dekker – Back (Questionable)
Dwight Howard – Back (Out)
John Wall – Achilles (Out)
Things to watch for:
Injuries are obviously going to be a major factor for both teams. If Cody and MKG can play, that would be a definite boon for the Hornets as they certainly need a win to keep pace with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
If you remember the last time the Hornets played in Washington, Kemba Walker scored 47 points. They did lose that game, however, but it would be nice if he could repeat that performance and the team gets a win this time around.
Keys to the game:
Given Washington’s rather paltry record, you’d think they wouldn’t be a high scoring team, but they actually rank 7th in the NBA in points per game. Bradley Beal is a large part of that, of course, as he averages 26 points game.
So, why the underwhelming record? Defense and rebounding are two contributing aspects. The Wizards are 28th in the league in opponent field goal percentage, allowing teams to shoot nearly 48%.
They’re also 29th in the league in opponent rebounds per game, giving up just about 48 boards a game.
Charlotte needs to take advantage by boxing out on the glass on both ends and making sure they take quality shots. In their loss in Washington, the Hornets shot 52% from the floor, but also allowed the Wizards to shoot 52% as well.
Washington is efficient from the floor, ranking 8th in the NBA in field goal percentage, so the Hornets will need to avoid leaving shooters open and clamp down on defense.
The playoffs are still a possibility, though it is going to get much tougher. Charlotte needs to win the games they should and will also need to upset a few teams. Can they leave our nation’s capital with a much-needed win? We’ll find out Friday night in Washington.