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HORNETS VS. WIZARDS
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
February 1, 2011

The Hornets enter Tuesdays home game against the Washington Wizards hoping to extend a pair of recent trends involving these interconference foes. For one, New Orleans would love to continue its home winning streak, which is currently at five games. The Hornets have gone 19-5 in the New Orleans Arena this season, including a sparkling record of 10-1 against Eastern Conference opponents such as Washington. Meanwhile, the Wizards had yet to win a single road game in 23 attempts this season through Sunday. Tuesdays visit to the Crescent City is Washingtons fourth away game in five nights, with the Wizards also playing Oklahoma City, Memphis and Dallas on this current trip.

This is the second and final matchup of 2010-11 between the Hornets and Wizards. New Orleans prevailed in our nations capital on Jan. 1, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 92-81 win. Trevor Ariza compiled one of his best offensive games of the season against the Wizards, scoring a team-high 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

After undergoing consecutive disappointing seasons, Washington is in the midst of a full-scale rebuilding project, centering its future around the development of players such as 20-year-old John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. Several other significant contributors for the Wizards are also in their early 20s, including shooting guard Nick Young, center JaVale McGee and forward Andray Blatche.

Although theyve made several roster changes since last season, a few returning Wizards were key contributors during the teams 96-91 victory in their most recent visit to New Orleans, on March 31, 2010.



INTRIGUING MATCH-UP


Point guard, Chris Paul vs. John Wall
In some respects, Wall is now what Paul was a half-decade ago the up-and-coming young floor leader who is trying to established himself at a position where there are numerous outstanding players. In the Jan. 1 meeting, the Hornets four-time All-Star turned in perhaps his best all-around game of 2010-11, consisting of 13 points, five rebounds, 11 assists and seven steals. Walls numbers were solid as well (12 points, 10 assists) except he also committed eight turnovers, partly due to Pauls aggressive and relentless defense.



HORNETS.COM SCOUTING REPORT
A closer look at the Washington Wizards:


Andray Blatche


JaVale McGee

GUARDS
The entire Washington organization rejoiced on May 18 of last year, when the 2010 NBA draft lottery resulted in the Wizards earning the No. 1 overall draft choice. The Wizards used the top pick to select 6-foot-4 point guard John Wall, after the phenom was one of the NCAAs premier players as a freshman in 2009-10. Wall led the University of Kentucky to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last spring, after winning first- and second-round games in the New Orleans Arena. Wall began his professional career in excellent fashion, but sustained foot and knee injuries that have kept him out of double-digit games as a rookie. Wall has been the NBAs second-most productive rookie in 2010-11, behind only the Clippers Blake Griffin.

Nick Young has blossomed into Washingtons leading scorer in Year 4 of his NBA career, proving to be an explosive point producer. En route to nearly doubling his overall scoring average compared to last season, the Southern Cal product compiled a career-high 43-point game vs. Sacramento on Jan. 11.

Combo guard Kirk Hinrich spent each of his first seven pro seasons with the Chicago Bulls, before being traded to the Wizards during the offseason. Hinrich is one of Washingtons most dangerous perimeter shooters and has been regarded as a solid individual defender throughout his career.

Third-year reserve Cartier Martin has played for three different NBA teams, while attempting to solidify a permanent role in the league. Martin has been solid from three-point range this season, including drilling a clutch, overtime-forcing trey vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 2.

Point guard Mustafa Shakur suited up for the Hornets during the 2010 preseason and appeared in a handful of games, but did not make the regular season roster. The Arizona product made his official NBA debut on Jan. 22 vs. Boston, after trying to crack NBA rosters for the past several seasons.

FORWARDS
Andray Blatche presents a difficult matchup, a 6-foot-11 player who can shoot, pass and handle the ball adeptly. The fifth-year player, who came to the NBA directly from high school, scored 23 points in a game against the Hornets last season.

A former member of the Orlando Magic, as well as a key cog during that franchises 2009 Eastern Conference championship and berth in the NBA Finals, Rashard Lewis has been a productive scorer throughout his career. Now in his 13th season, the Houston native now relies heavily on three-point shooting.

Al Thornton is a former Los Angeles Clippers first-round pick who is in his second season with the Wizards. While still a member of the Clippers at the outset of 2009-10, Thornton piled up 30 points against the Hornets in a game played here in New Orleans.

Like Thornton, Yi Jianlian is a past NBA lottery pick who did not pan out with the team that initially selected him. Yi, a native of China, is a 7-footer who frequently fires mid-range jumpers. The fourth-year pro previously played for Milwaukee and New Jersey.

Once a key starter for the Dallas Mavericks, Josh Howard has been hampered by injuries in recent years. He appeared in just eight of the first 40-plus games this season.

Rookie power forward Trevor Booker is a left-hander from Clemson who has shown an ability to make mid-range jumpers and rebound early in his career.

The burly Kevin Seraphin joins Booker as a frontcourt Wizards reserve whos in his debut NBA season. Seraphin is a native of French Guiana.

CENTERS
JaVale McGee is one of the NBAs most athletic big men, a 7-footer who has outstanding leaping ability and an impressive wingspan. When he made his debut in the league in 2008-09, the University of Nevada-Reno product became the first-ever son of a former WNBA player (Pamela McGee) to appear in an NBA game. The 23-year-old was selected to participate in the Feb. 19 slam dunk contest at All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles.

Former New Orleans reserve Hilton Armstrong spent three-plus seasons with the Hornets, prior to being traded halfway through 2009-10. The University of Connecticut product was also a college teammate of Emeka Okafor. Armstrongs role with the Wizards has dwindled recently, after he had started a pair of early-season games. The 6-foot-11, fifth-year pro signed with Washington as a free agent in the offseason.


Players the WAS/NOH want shooting free throws in a close game
WIZARDS HORNETS
Nick Young
Kirk Hinrich
Rashard Lewis
Yi Jianlian
John Wall
82.8
81.4
80.7
80.0
77.8
Chris Paul
Jarrett Jack
David West
Marco Belinelli
Marcus Thornton
85.4
84.7
84.0
80.5
80.4
If the WAS/NOH need a three-pointer, their best options are
WIZARDS HORNETS
Rashard Lewis
Nick Young
Kirk Hinrich
Cartier Martin
Yi Jianlian
39.0
38.5
37.8
36.6
33.6
Marco Belinelli
Marcus Thornton
Chris Paul
Jarrett Jack
Willie Green
38.6
37.2
36.5
34.8
31.7
Career FT percentage (through Jan. 30) Career three-point percentage (through Jan. 30)




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