By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards continue their homestand tonight as they welcome the New Orleans Hornets to Verizon Center for the first time this season (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards beat the Hornets, 77-70, when they met on December 11th in New Orleans.
The Wizards earned their first road win of the season over these Hornets back on that December night in a defensive battle. Neither team shot over 33% from the floor in that game and neither team eclipsed the 80 point mark. That was a much different looking Wizards team as A.J. Price, Trevor Ariza, and John Wall all were out of the lineup with injuries. Price may be held out again tonight as he continues to deal with a sore groin.
Along with Price, Bradley Beal is also questionable again tonight as he continues to work his way back from a sprained left ankle. Beal has missed the past five games with that injury.
For the Hornets, Eric Gordon is back and playing again after he missed the first two months of the season with a knee injury. He now leads the team in scoring averaging almost 17 points per game. He has been in double figures in the Hornets last nine games and is coming off a 24 point effort at Brooklyn on Tuesday night. When he's healthy, Gordon is an elite scorer and can be a very difficult guard. He's the #1 option on this Hornets team and will be a focal point for the Wizards tonight.
The Hornets also feature the #1 overall pick in last year's draft, Anthony Davis. He came back from injury and played off the bench in their last meeting in New Orleans, but tonight is expected to make the start and play a key role. He may be playing his best basketball of the season as he now has double-doubles in four of the Hornets last five games. He stands at 6-10 and is a freak athlete who loves to play above the rim. It will be interesting to see how his youth and athleticism holds up against a veteran like Nene who plays more of a grounded game.
Verizon Center will also welcome Hornets point guard and former Maryland Terrapin Greivis Vasquez to the building as he is having a career year running the point for the Hornets. He is 3rd in the NBA in assists with 9.4 per game and can really dictate the tempo of the offense. The Wizards held him to just 2-14 shooting in their last contest and with Wall on him tonight it will hopefully limit the Horntets offensive attack once again.
The Wizards got back to their winning ways with a win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night and will look to make it two in a row by taking down these Hornets tonight. They have had no issue beating playoff teams at home, but teams with sub .500 records have given them trouble. They will need to stop that trend this weekend as they get New Orleans and Phoenix on a back-to-back.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Wall is now averaging 19.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds in his last six games. Wall has posted double-doubles in consecutive games for the third time this season and is coming off two of his best performances of the year. He had a season-high 27 points on Tuesday night in Cleveland and followed that up with a 23 point effort on Wednesday night vs. Milwaukee. He will try and make it three straight double-doubles tonight as he goes up against Greivis Vasquez and the Hornets.
As mentioned in the preview, Vasquez is having a career season setting new highs in almost all offensive categories. He has been given full control of the Hornets offense and has emerged as a very capable point guard. He was a fan favorite back in his college days just down the street in College Park and many of them may be in the building tonight to watch him take on the Wizards.
In this clip, John Wall reads the play, gets the steal and the slam.
In the clip below, John Wall finishes for the 3-point play.