A pair of Southeast Division rivals take the floor in the nation’s capital. The Charlotte Hornets are on the road as they travel to face the division leading Washington Wizards Friday night. Charlotte was in action at home Thursday night as they hosted the Nets. Washington was on the road Thursday night as they traveled to face the Cavaliers in a showdown of division leaders. The Hornets hold a 58-50 advantage in the all-time regular season series and took the first two meetings this season, including a 133-109 win at home in the last matchup on January 17.
Charlotte Hornets Look to Close Gap on Playoff Spot
Charlotte was at home as they opened the second half of their schedule against the Nets Thursday night. The Hornets went into Thursday’s game looking to build some momentum as they are 4-6 in their last 10 games: they did win their final game before the break by edging Orlando 104-102 on the road. Charlotte was 10th in the Eastern Conference, 17 games behind the Raptors for the top spot. The Hornets trailed the Wizards by nine games in the Southeast Division and were 5.5 games behind the Heat for the final playoff spot. Charlotte is 9-18 on the road, 8-4 against the Southeast Division and 13-18 against the East this season.
The Hornets are an average team offensively, ranking 14th in the league with 106 points per game. Charlotte is 3rd in rebounding with 45.6 boards per game and 28th by dishing out 20.9 assists per contest. The Hornets come in ranked 17th in scoring defense by allowing 106.6 points per game. Kemba Walker leads the team with 22.9 points while dishing out 5.8 assists per game. Dwight Howard is averaging 15.8 points plus 12.6 rebounds per contest, Jeremy Lamb adds 13.5 points plus 4.4 boards per game and Frank Kaminsky chips in 10.5 points a night. Cody Zeller, Treveon Graham, Marvin Williams, Dwayne Bacon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk have to be valuable bench contributors. Nicolas Batum, who tore an elbow ligament in early October and missed 14 games, is averaging 12 points plus 4.7 assists per contest. The Hornets are 27th in field goal percentage as the team shoots 44.2 percent from the floor. Charlotte is 21st with 9.6 threes per game while ranking tied for 14th in three point shooting as they hit 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Washington Wizards Play Second Game of Back to Back
Washington plays the second game of a back to back as well after visiting Cleveland Thursday night to start the second half of their schedule. The Wizards are 7-3 in their last 10 games entering that one and had won two straight, including a 118-113 win over the Knicks on the road. Washington was fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight games behind Toronto for the top spot. The Wizards led the Southeast Division by 3.5 games over the Heat and stood five games ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. Washington is 17-10 at home, 6-4 against the Southeast Division and 20-14 against the Eastern Conference this season.
The Wizards are 10th in the league in scoring offense with 107.4 points per game. Washington is tied for 18th in the league on the glass with 42.9 boards per game. The Wizards are 5th with 24.3 assists per game. Washington is 15th in the league as they allow 105.5 points per game on the year. John Wall is second on the team with 19.4 points and 9.3 assists per game. Wall missed three weeks while receiving PRP treatment on his knee earlier this season: he underwent a procedure on his knee on January 31 and could miss up to two months. Bradley Beal averages a team high 23.6 points a game while Otto Porter Jr. (14.4 points, 6.4 boards, 1.57 steals) continues to move along his development curve. Markieff Morris (10.9 points, 5.6 boards) and Marcin Gortat (8.8 points, eight rebounds) are the other Washington starters and both are capable scoring options in the low block. Kelly Oubre Jr. (11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds) along with Tomas Satoransky, Jodie Meeks, Mike Scott and Tim Frazier will be looked at to contribute off the pine. Washington is 8th in field goal percentage as the team shoots a collective 46.7 percent from the floor. The Wizards are 20th in the league with 9.8 triples a night while ranking 9th in three point shooting. Washington hits 36.9 percent from downtown.
- Hornets are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Hornets are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 0 days rest
- Hornets are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
Charlotte has to get hot and get help if they hope to make the postseason and that means they have to start winning on the road. That’s something the team has struggled at this season and if they can’t reverse that trend, they can forget about the postseason. Washington is battling to hold the Southeast Division lead and home court advantage for the playoffs at this point. The Wizards have been decent at home this season and in a game where both teams are playing the second game of a back to back, give Washington the edge here as the hosts.