Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Preview
We’ve already talked about one Southeast Division matchup taking place tonight, but in another, the Charlotte Hornets host the Washington Wizards after just facing off weeks ago. The Wizards and Hornets are third and fourth in the division and both are entering tonight’s game on a two-game losing streak.
The Hornets are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 9-16 record. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and just 5-8 at home. The Wizards are just a half-game behind at 12th in the East with a 7-15 record. They are also 3-7 in their last 10 and are just 3-9 on the road this season.
In their matchup on November 22, the Wizards won 125-118 behind 30 points and 12 assists from Bradley Beal. Miles Bridges paced the Hornets with 21 points and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win. The Hornets will be looking to avenge that loss in the second game of the regular season series tonight.
Time: 7 PM ET
Arena: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Channel: NBCSWA, FSSE-CHA
Wizards: Thomas Bryant, Isaiah Thomas, C.J. Miles, Jordan McRae, John Wall (O)
Hornets: PJ Washington (P), Marvin Williams (O)
Washington Wizards Preview Starting Lineup
After a big win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, the Washington Wizards were not able to find the same success over the weekend, with a 112-103 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday and a 135-119 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
“Our biggest problem right now is defense,” said Wizards swingman Troy Brown Jr.
To Brown’s point, the Wizards gave up 70 second-half points to the Clippers after crawling back into the game with a 39-point second quarter. The Clippers’ duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George gave the Wizards fits as they scored 34 and 27 points apiece.
The Wizards have had to deal with several injuries lately, but that doesn’t seem to be an excuse the team intends on using.
“We’re all in this together,” guard Bradley Beal said. “We’ve obviously got to continue to play basketball.”
Forward Davis Bertans has been a bright spot for the Wizards lately. He was acquired in a deal with the San Antonio Spurs that was meant to allow them to have space under the salary cap to sign Marcus Morris. Morris eventually reneged on the deal, choosing to sign with the Knicks, and the Spurs have lamented the loss of Bertans all season, and he’s showing why as he makes an early case for Most Improved Player.
He led the Wizards in scoring with 25 points off the bench. Brown, also off the bench, had 22 points and Bradley Beal scored 20. The Wizards are getting nice contributions off the bench, but they’ll need more from a few of their starters if their defense continues to struggle.
Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup
Like the Wizards, the Hornets have also had their share of struggles on defense. In particular, their perimeter defense has allowed far too many threes. In their 122-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young buried them from deep on his way to 30 points.
The Hornets stayed with the Hawks through the first half, going into halftime with a slight lead, but they had letdowns in the second half as they were outscored 71-54.
“It caught up to us in the end,” Hornets forward Miles Bridges said. “We have to come out more aggressive. When we’re playing aggressive, we’re playing at our best.”
“We’ll come in, work on our defense some more and get after it another day,” head coach James Borrego said.
Their rookie and sophomore combo of forwards Bridges and PJ Washington continue to deliver for Charlotte while they deal with inconsistency with most of the rest of their lineup. Bridges and Washington had 20 points apiece.
Second-year guard Devonte’ Graham has also been a nice surprise this year and has to be another Most Improved Player nominee. He had 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds against the Clippers and has season averages of 18.8 points and 7.8 assists per game.
Key Player Matchups
Bradley Beal vs. Devonte’ Graham
Beal is an all-star caliber shooting guard, while Graham is having a breakout year in his second season. While Graham can get hot, he also relishes a role as a distributor, while Beal has been known to cross into 50 points multiple times this season.
Rui Hachimura vs. PJ Washington
It will be fun to see the battle of the rookie power forwards. Hachimura was selected ninth overall by Washington, while PJ Washington went three picks later to Charlotte. If you were to look at them based on numbers alone, Hachimura has a razor-thin edge over Washington. While they both have range and are mobile, Hachimura is more dominant as a physical banger down low whereas Washington is probably the superior outside shooter.
Bradley Beal is the only true stud player in this matchup. He is available for $9.3k on FanDuel and is projected to finish with 53.9 points.
There are several options when it comes to value options. For the Wizards, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura are both good options, but with his latest hot streak, I’m going with Bertans. He has a low salary of just $6.3k and a projection of 36.9 points. There are equally as many interesting options for Charlotte, including Bismack Biyombo, Devonte’ Graham and Miles Bridges, but I’m going with PJ Washington, who’s $5.9k salary should net you a 26-point performance tonight.
Bet on Matchup
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