Preview: Keys to Beat Wizards
Preview: Keys to Beat Wizards

By Shane Skeary, bobcats.com

April 9, 2014

KEY MATCHUP vs. WIZARDS: Gerald Henderson vs. Bradley Beal

The last time these two teams squared off on March 31, the Wizards had a game-and-a-half lead over the Cats for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Not much has changed in a little over a week, as the Wizards and Bobcats will face off for the fourth and final time this season with playoff seeding and a series tiebreaker hanging in the balance… In the last matchup, Bradley Beal got the best of Gerald Henderson in offensive output. Beal tried to fill the void for struggling All-Star John Wall by scoring a team-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added five assists. Henderson failed to match Beal, scoring just nine points, but was bailed out by double-doubles from Kemba Walker (20 points, 10 assists) and Al Jefferson (19 points, 11 rebounds) as the Cats rallied for a 100-94 comeback win at Time Warner Cable Arena… Overall, Henderson has faired well against Washington this season, averaging 16.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and shooting 54.2 percent in three games against the Wizards. Henderson has been a consistent contributor to the Cats offense in recent games. He has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 13 games and is averaging 12.6 points on .480 (73-of-152) shooting during the 13-game stretch, including 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting on March 22 against Portland. Henderson has 59 double-digit scoring games this season, including 12 games in which he scored 20 points or more… Beal has also enjoyed playing the Bobcats this season. He is averaging 19.7 points, 3.0 assists, is shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from downtown. Beal has had an impressive sophomore season in the NBA thus far, averaging 17.0 points and 3.3 assists, both second-best on the team behind Wall. Beal has also had several career-high nights this season, including a 37-point performance Feb. 11 at Memphis and a night that included six three-pointers at Oklahoma City on Nov. 10.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS

The Cats are coming off a 96-94 OT win against the Cleveland Cavaliers that spurned a lot of excitement for two reasons: Charlotte earned its second playoff berth in franchise history (the other coming in 2009-10) and the team is above .500 for the first time since they were 5-4 back on Nov. 15… Entering tonight’s action, the Bobcats are giving up only 97.2 points per game, which is the fourth-lowest average in the NBA. In addition, the Bobcats are giving up the fewest fast break points (10.1) and the fourth-fewest points in the paint (38.6). They have held their opponent under 100 points in 50 of their 77 games this season, which is the fourth-most such games in the NBA… The Bobcats are 12-5 in their last 17 games and are 16-8 since the All-Star break, which is the seventh best record in the NBA and fourth best in the Eastern Conference over that span. Al Jefferson was awarded Eastern Conference Player of the Week (Mar. 31-Apr.6). It is Jefferson’s second Player of the Week honor in the last four weeks, in which he won Player of the Month in between. Jefferson averaged 24.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 37.1 minutes, led the Cats to a perfect 4-0 record and clinched the second playoff berth in team history over the week.

SCOUTING THE WIZARDS

Washington currently sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and is only one game in front of the Bobcats, as they trail the season series 2-1… The Wizards are coming off a 95-78 loss on Apr. 5 against the Chicago Bulls. John Wall led the way for Washington with a team-high 20 points and six assists, while Marcin Gortat (19 points, eight boards) and Bradley Beal (14 points, five assists) joined the effort, but came up short… The Wizards are 15-10 since the All-Star break. During the stretch they are averaging 102.8 points per game while holding opponents to 100.4 points per game. Wall is averaging 19.8 points and 9.0 assists in 25 games since the break. Marcin Gortat is averaging 15.4 points and 10.7 rebounds in 24 games since the break. Gortat leads the team in field goal percentage during this stretch at .568 from the field… The Wizards will continue their road trip further south to take on the Orlando Magic on April 11, after facing the Bobcats.

TUNE IN

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