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The Hornets need a win tonight to keep the playoffs within reach

Sitting two games out of the eight seed with a lot of road games left on the schedule, the Hornets need this win against the Wizards.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

What: Charlotte Hornets (30-37) at Washington Wizards (29-39)

When: 7:00 EDT

Where: Capital One Arena; Washington D.C.

How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

This game has major implications for a pair of reasons. For one, the Hornets obviously need to start winning games if they want to make the playoffs. After tonight’s game against the Wizards, the Hornets play nine straight games against teams that currently have a better record than the Hornets. They need to win this one, because it’s one of the few remaining games the Hornets play against a team they’re better than.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the result this game could have significant draft pick implications. If the Hornets were to lose, they’d be only a half game ahead of the Wizards in the standings. The Hornets could fall anywhere from sixth to fifteenth in the draft, depending on how these final weeks go.

The Hornets currently lead the season series two games to one after winning a nail-biter in the Spectrum Center last Friday. Despite that, the Wizards have been the better of the two teams post All Star break. They’ve been average, while the Hornets have been playing like a team in the bottom third of the league.

Bradley Beal has been one of the hottest players in the league post-All Star break, putting up averages of 29.4 points, 7.1 assists, and 6.5 rebounds per game. His 15 point performance on just 4-of-21 shooting the last two times these teams played was a major outlier. The Hornets can’t count on that happening again. They probably can’t count on Marvin Williams scoring 30 again either.

As of last night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was listed as probable while Cody Zeller was listed as out with knee soreness. That may change today, but it looks like the Hornets won’t be at full strength yet again.

A couple weeks ago, you’d probably mark this game as a probable win for the Hornets, but the Hornets are faltering at the worst possible time. Tonight’s game will be tough, and its outcome will be a harbinger of the direction the Hornets choose to go in during the season’s final month.