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Preview: Hornets ride three-game win-streak into matchup with Eastern Conference-leading Wizards

Charlotte has a chance to knock off the best team in the respective conferences in back-to-back games

Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (8-7) vs. Washington Wizards (10-3)

When: 7:00 PM EST

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, N.C.

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Injury report

CHA: PJ Washington: OUT (left elbow hyperextension), Gordon Hayward: PROBABLE (right hamstring discomfort).

WAS: Rui Hachimura: OUT (not with team), Davis Bertans: OUT (ankle), Thomas Bryant: OUT (left knee).

It’s been a roller-coaster ride over the last month. The Hornets were good, then they were not so good, and then over the last three games they’ve gone back to being good. After knocking off New York and Golden State in consecutive home games, Charlotte is playing their best basketball of the young season as they welcome the Wizards to town.

Washington has been one of the most impressive teams to start the year. The Wizards are the eighth-best halfcourt offense in the league per Cleaning The Glass. They rank second in field goal percentage at the rim (70.6) with Deni Avdija, Daniel Gafford and Montrezl Harrell all ranking above the 80th percentile in efficiency.

Kyle Kuzma is at career-high marks of 37.1 percent from deep on 6.8 attempts per game. Spencer Dinwiddie is putting up 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6 assists per contest, Aaron Holiday and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are energetic perimeter defenders that bolster the league’s fourth-best defense (102.7 defensive rating). All of this is happening in spite of Bradley Beal shooting 40.7 percent from the field, 25 percent from downtown and Davis Bertans knocking down just 33 percent of his 3-point attempts — the Wizards are good.

Charlotte has been playing excellent defense during this three-game streak with a defensive rating of 99.7 that places them fifth in the NBA over that stretch. This is extremely basic analysis, but when the Hornets play even remotely-solid defense, they’re usually going to have a chance to win the game; however, their margin for error on that end is smaller than most teams due to the extremity of their weaknesses, so locking in on that end for a full 48 minutes and not allowing teams to keep pace with their offense by going on long runs and scoring easy buckets is by far the most crucial aspect of this team’s success.

Fun facts: Gordon Hayward is eighth in the NBA in 3-point percentage among players who attempt more than four 3-pointers per game at 44.4 percent. Kelly Oubre Jr. is shooting a career-high 38.8 percent from beyond the arc on a career-high 6.5 attempts per game. During the three-game win-streak, Terry Rozier has began to heat up shooting 43.9 percent overall and 37.5 percent from downtown on 5.3 attempts per game. In short; don’t let the Hornets get hot.

These last two days were the first time Charlotte had consecutive off-days since the season began. Miles Bridges (36.6) and Hayward (35.3) are both playing more than 35 minutes per game, and most rotation players have yet to miss a game. Hopefully, a couple days of rest can help the Hornets recoup the energy that they’ll need to defend home court against a Wizards team that’s 8-2 in their last 10 games.

P.S. here’s an announcement from this morning regarding the Hornets rookies.

Update: the rookies drove to Greensboro for practice today.