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Preview: Hornets host the depleted Wizards with final play-in seeding on the line

All signs are pointing to the Hornets closing out the season with an important victory.

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

What: Washington Wizards (35-46) at Charlotte Hornets (42-39)

When: 3:30 PM ET

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Do you like drama?

With 81 of 82 games in the books, the four Eastern Conference play-in teams are all within one game of each other between the Brooklyn Nets (43-38), Cleveland Cavaliers (43-38), Atlanta Hawks (42-39), and our very own Charlotte Hornets (42-39).

Seeding in the play-in tournament has a huge impact on which team will make the playoffs. The No. 7 and No. 8 seeds face each other and the winner automatically gets a playoff spot. The No. 9 and No. 10 seeds also face off and the loser is eliminated. The loser of the No. 7 vs. 8 matchup and the winner of the No. 9 vs. 10 game then face off and the winner is in.

In plain English, the No. 7 and No. 8 teams just need to win one game to make the playoffs. The No. 9 and No. 10 teams would need to win back-to-back games to make it. We’ll all be scoreboard watching to see how the Nets, Cavs, and Hawks fare tonight.

Washington Wizards overview

The Wizards have been a bit frisky lately with a 5-4 record over their last nine games, but they’re decimated by injuries right now.

Washington’s four best players won’t be suiting up for this one. Bradley Beal (23.2 PPG, 6.6 APG) was lost for the season back in February. The Wizards have since announced that their three best remaining players will be sitting this one out with Kristaps Porzingis (20.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG), forward Kyle Kuzma (17.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG), and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13.2 PPG, 39% 3PT) all in street clothes for the season finale.

This leaves the Wizards relying heavily on ho-hum guys like guard Tomas Satoransky, rookie forward Corey Kispert, second-year forward Deni Avdija, power forward Rui Hachimura, and center Daniel Gafford. Key reserves include former Hornet Ish Smith, second-year forward Anthony Gill, and center Thomas Bryant.

The Wizards are doing everything possible roster-wise to help the Hornets get a win.

How the Hornets can win

There are no secrets to this game. The Hornets have everything to play for while the Wizards have essentially shut things down going into the final game of the season. This game is being served to the Hornets on a silver platter.

If the Hornets can’t win this one, then good luck figuring things out in the play-in tournament.

I see a Hornets victory coming tonight. Let’s hope this is just one victory in more to come in the play-in tournament and ultimately in the playoffs.

Poll

What’s your prediction for tonight’s game?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Hornets win easy
    (78 votes)
  • 18%
    Hornets win a close one
    (22 votes)
  • 15%
    Somehow the Wizards win and create an existential crisis for the Hornets going into the play-in tournament
    (18 votes)
118 votes total Vote Now