Charlotte Hornets head to D.C. to take on the Washington Wizards

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 17: Dwight Howard
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 17: Dwight Howard /

The Hornets will continue their uphill battle to reach the playoffs as they take on Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.

Fresh off the heels of a 111-96 win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Charlotte Hornets will play the Washington Wizards in a road game. Charlotte is a perfectly average 5-5 in their last ten. On the other hand, the Wizards are scorching hot right now, winning 8 of their last ten.

Luckily, Charlotte is not struggling with any injuries, as the whole roster is healthy. Injured all-star PG John Wall will be out, as he’s still recovering from knee surgery. Big man Jason Smith is questionable with an illness that has caused him to miss the past two games.

In other roster news for Washington, they’ve signed veteran point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day contract. He debuts tonight and is expected to back up Tomas Satoransky.

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Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 • 7:00 PM ET

Capital One Arena • Washington, DC


Radio: 610 AM The Fan, 1500 AM

Keys to the Game:

  • Tomas Satoransky’s defense. The 6’7″ point guard out of the Czech Republic has been a defensive stud the past ten games, locking down the likes of Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, and Kyrie Irving. Those ten match-ups average .189 points per possessions and have only reached double-digit scoring figures twice. Since Charlotte’s offense revolves around Kemba Walker, this game’s outcome is likely reliant on his ability to beat Satoransky.
  • Not posting up Dwight Howard. For fans of the 2015-2016 team, they’ll remember the beautifully orchestrated pick and roll between Cody Zeller and Kemba Walker. That gorgeous synergy has evaporated this year with Zeller being relegated to the bench in favor of Dwight Howard. Steve Clifford insists on running Dwight Howard post-ups, even though they’ve been abysmal, scoring only .77 points per possession. On 6.3 possessions per game, Howard is not only among the worst post scorers to be playing major minutes, he’s got the third most post-ups per game. This dreadful combination is killing Charlotte. If they want to win tonight, Steve Clifford needs to modernize the offense and step out of the post and into the 21st century.
  • Winning the turnover battle. Charlotte is second in the league in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 12.8. However, Washington forces the 4th most per game, at 15.4. If Charlotte wins the turnover battle, expect a game played at a slower pace. If not, Washington is a lethal transition team, and it could be a long night for Charlotte.

This game between two Southeast Division rivals should be worth a watch. If Charlotte can muster a win here in the second game of a back to back, there may be some hope still alive for the team’s minuscule playoff chances.

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If not, it may tell us that the team should truly kick-start the tank and give big minutes to Malik Monk, Dwayne Bacon, and Willy Hernangomez. All things considered though, if the Hornets can manage to escape Satoransky’s stranglehold defense, not post up, and win the turnover battle, the odds should be in their favor.