When: 7:00 P.M. EST
Where: Washington, D.C., Verizon Center
How to Watch: Fox SportsSouth, NBA League Pass
It was a little over two weeks ago when the Hornets, fresh off five straight wins, faced the Washington Wizards (40-32) at home. The game was over before the third quarter ended, as John Wall seemingly single handily took apart the Hornets defense. On the other end, the Hornets could do nothing to score and finished with a measly 69 points. Since that game, things just haven't been the same for Charlotte, who are just 2-7 since that loss against Washington.
However, on the season the Hornets are 2-1 against Washington and have won both of those games without Kemba Walker, who is now back in the starting lineup. Although Walker appears to be working back into game shape, Al Jefferson is struggling to play through a knee injury. His last game against the Brooklyn Nets, where he scored an efficient 23 points, was overshadowed by the play of Brook Lopez (his primary defensive assignment) who scored an even more efficient 34 points, including the two most important buckets of the game.
With Al Jefferson limited, and Cody Zeller again out, a key factor to this game will be how the Hornets handle the Wizards impressive big man depth. Marcin Gortat can be a very hard cover in the pick-and-roll (a play that destroyed Charlotte against Brooklyn), Nene can be a one-on-one nightmare (especially without Zeller to check him), and the bench is full of bruising big men with varying talents.
On the other side, the Wizards may be without Bradley Beal, who left the Wizard's last game against the Pacers with an injury. That could be huge for Charlotte, as last game coach Steve Clifford was unwilling to have a wing guard John Wall, because he didn't feel the point guard would fair well on either Beal or Paul Pierce. This could have been a mistake, as Wall had 15 points and 9 assists in just 29 minutes of play and sparked a 36 point first quarter that left the Hornets down 15.
This is a huge game for the Hornets, who are now 11th in the Eastern Conference but tied record wise with the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers at just a half game back from the 8th ranked Boston Celtics.