Who: Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards
When: 12:00 p.m. EST
Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Comcast SportsNet MidAtlantic, NBA TV
The Hornets need this game over the Wizards to keep any hopes they have at the three seed alive. They're currently one game behind the Atlanta Hawks in the loss column, and their lack of tiebreakers over the teams ahead of them complicates things. However, the Miami Heat lost their most recent game to the Orlando Magic. If the Heat lose their rematch, and the Hornets win out their division games then that will tie them with Miami in the division record category. It might seem obvious at this point of the season, but the Hornets need to win this game.
As for Charlotte's opponent, Washington has been eliminated from the playoffs and how they've finished out the season reflects that. They aren't tanking, but stars like John Wall are sitting out with minor injuries rather than risking further complications. This gives the Hornets a great opportunity to win a game comfortably and get some rest themselves.
However, as we've seen plenty of times this year a "guaranteed" win means nothing. The Hornets have continuously started slow and made things more difficult on themselves then necessary in games they should have won. The Wizards may be eliminated, but there are still talented players on the roster like Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter. It would be a lot of stress off Charlotte's minds if they could come out today and avoid their usually slow start. With the playoffs coming up it's a problem that they need to fix sooner rather than later. However, considering that matinee games are notoriously sloppy it's unlikely that we're going to see that from them today.
Something to keep an eye on today is the status of John Wall. He's currently listed as questionable, and the Wizards have shut him down for most of these last few games of the season. If he plays or not could dramatically change how this game plays out.