When: 7:00 pm EDT
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, N.C.
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets have lost six of their last seven games and look to get things back on track tonight against the Washington Wizards, a team that has its own struggles. The Wizards have lost five of their last six games and will travel to Charlotte on the second day of a back-to-back.
Washington Wizards overview
The Wiz are led by three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal but he may not be suiting up for this one. Beal entered the league’s health and safety protocols yesterday and sat out Sunday’s loss to the Grizzlies. He will be reevaluated before tonight’s game and his status is currently day-to-day. Beal averaged more than 30 points per game in back-to-back seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 but his scoring has dipped to 21.6 points per game this season on much lower shooting volumes.
Point guard Monte Morris is a low-scoring starter (8.3 PPG) and shouldn’t present much trouble for the Hornets. Forward Kyle Kuzma is usually good for about 17 points and seven or eight boards every night. 7’3” center Kristaps Porzingis is averaging about 20 points per game, including hoisting over five 3-pointer per game and hitting about 38% of them. Third-year forward Deni Avdija (4.8 PPG) is struggling with his shot as witnessed by his 40.5% field goal percentage. Forward Corey Kispert just recently returned to action and has played just two games this season.
Washington’s bench is finding it challenging to score. Forward Rui Hachimura leads the second unit at 10.0 PPG. Small forward Will Barton scores 8.8 points in 24 minutes per game but hasn’t flashed much of his sometimes electric scoring potential. Small forward Anthony Gill plays limited minutes and averages just 4.7 PPG. Center Daniel Gafford focuses more on defense and rebounding than scoring.
How the Hornets can win
From an advanced stats perspective, the Wizards have the better offense when Bradley Beal is playing. Their Offensive Rating (points per 100 possessions) of 108.2 ranks 24th in the league while the Hornets 106.2 rating ranks 27th.
Defensively, Steve Clifford’s troops are the better team at preventing buckets. Charlotte’s Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) ranks 13th in the league while Washington ranks 25th in the NBA.
One key to victory will be the Hornets ability to keep the Wizards off the boards. Washington ranks 12th in the league in rebounding while the Hornets rank just 21st. With Bradley Beal potentially sitting this one out and Washington’s second unit mired in a scoring slump, the Hornets best shot at winning will be to control the boards and limit the total shots the Wizards attempt.
Charlotte needs a slump buster. The Wizards might be just what the doctor ordered.