When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The last time these two teams met was one of many the many instances this year where the Hornets squandered a late lead. A Miles Bridges 3-pointer gave them a 13 point lead with 9:25 remaining and prompted the Wizards to take a timeout. From that point forward, the Wizards outscored the Hornets 31-11 to nab a seven point victory.
The Wizards have faced a brutal schedule since that night, and they have not handled it well. They’re 2-7 in their last nine. The two wins were impressive—a road win against the Suns and a home win against the 76ers—but there are some bad losses in that stretch as well. They’ve been blown out three times by the Los Angeles teams, including a 150-125 road loss to the Clippers.
The opponents aren’t the only difficulty in their schedule. The Wizards are right in the middle of a 16 game stretch where they play on the road 12 times. That’s exhausting.
On the court, Bradley Beal is the obvious focal point. He’s averaging 28.0 points and 7.0 assists while playing the third most minutes per game in the league. Davis Bertans is his second in command, and he’s quietly rivaling Devonte’ Graham’s candidacy for Most Improved Player. He’s one of just four players connecting on more 3-pointers per game than Graham, and he’s doing so at a 45.2% clip. The Wizards are 13.9 net points per 100 possessions better with him on the court, which ranks him in the 95th percentile among NBA players.
Rui Hachimura has had a strong rookie season on the offensive end of the floor, putting up similar box score numbers to Hornets rookie PJ Washington. Defensively though, he’s been a train wreck. He averages less than a steal per game and only has three blocks all season. When he’s on the court, Opponents convert shots at the rim at an 11.6% higher rate with him on the court compared to when he’s sitting, ranking Hachimura in the bottom one percent of NBA players. The 14.8 point increase in team defensive rating that the Wizards experience when Hachimura plays is the worst mark in the league among players with over 200 minutes.
The Wizards will be without Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant tonight, which is a big hit to their already shallow roster. The Hornets will be shorthanded as well, as Marvin Williams is expected to miss tonight’s game with a sore knee. PJ Washington sprained his ankle on Sunday, but he’s listed as probable for tonight. The Hornets have had players listed as probable and not suit up at different points this season, so there’s no telling what we’ll get.