Game Preview – Hornets At Wizards


Game Preview – Hornets At Wizards

The Charlotte Hornets have won 10 of their last 13 games and have climbed from a lottery team looking toward the draft into legitimate playoff contender.

Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards have lost four of their last six, including an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday in what was a big game for both teams.

These are teams with different aspirations for this season. The Hornets are looking to build on last year, hoping to win a playoff game and put a scare into an Eastern Conference playoff foe.

The Wizards are hoping for more. They see themselves as being legitimate contenders to come out of the east. However, that loss to the Raptors, one of the other east powers, was emotionally draining.

That game featured six technical fouls, as both teams really wanted it.

From, Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman explained that Toronto was all-in for this one:

"“They hit us with everything but the kitchen sink in the first quarter,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.More from Swarm and StingHornets: Where does Brandon Miller’s ceiling rank among other rookies?Charlotte Hornets grade out mostly average in position-by-position rankingHornets News: P.J. Washington makes bold statement on Brandon MillerGrade the mock trade: Hornets snag Tyler Herro, flip Gordon HaywardWill the Charlotte Hornets be in the 2024 NBA Draft Lottery?"

Injury Update

John Wall was questionable for the game against the Raptors, but because both teams saw it as such a big game, he played despite a sore ankle and lingering migraine headaches.

When asked after the game if he would play against the Hornets, he seemed less sure.

"“The way I’m feeling now, (I’ll) rest and decide what I’m going to do on Monday,” he said. “This was a big game that I wanted to play because I know how much it meant to our team.”"

That does not sound like someone confident that he is suiting up. The fact that he had to play 45 minutes on a sore ankle, is another sign that he might sit out the game against Charlotte.

Meanwhile, it is expected that Marvin Williams will be back tonight, although there was no official announcement as of 10:30 AM. Williams return will strengthen the depth of the team, allowing a more normal rotation.

Keys To The Game On Offense

Washington has a very good defense. They are top five in the NBA in field goal percentage, and it all starts inside. Nene and Marcin Gortat are one of the best defensive frontlines in the association. Gortat is tall and lean, and very agile for a big man. He will block your shot if you are not careful.

Nene, meanwhile, is strong and athletic, and seems to have great defensive court awareness. He is always in the right place at the right time. The guy just plays great team defense.

Between the two of them, it is tough to get anything inside. The best chance the Hornets have is to use their depth. The two starters in Washington are very good, but behind them is a motley collection of scrubs.

When Nene and Gortat are out of the game, Charlotte must take advantage. Go right inside to the post or drive the lane. Kris Humphries, Kevin Seraphin, and Drew Gooden are not starting quality NBA big men.

Keys To The Game On Defense

On defense, it depends on if Wall plays. If Wall is in the game, then it is all about good team defense, defending the pick and roll. If Wall is out, then it will most likely be the Bradley Beal show for the Wizards, with the outstanding shooting guard taking more offensive responsibility.

Beal is a great shooter, hitting almost 45% of his three point shots. The Hornets defenders cannot leave him for any reason. Stick to him like glue, and just hope that Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson can hold the fort in the paint.


With John Wall either out or playing hurt, the Hornets are catching a break. Especially given that Washington is coming off that emotional overtime loss to the Raptors.

This is the perfect time to catch these Wizards. They are hurting and distraught. The Hornet must have no mercy in this game. Take advantage of the situation and pounce on the Wizards from the opening tip.

Come out with the passion and fire displayed in the recent victory over the Denver Nuggets, and Washington will give in.

Final Score Prediction – Charlotte Hornets 96, Washington Wizards 80.

Next: Cody Zeller and the Young Players Keep the Hornets Winning