By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards were defeated by the Charlotte Bobcats 98-85 on March 12th at Verizon Center. John Wall led the Wizards with 23 points. Al Jefferson had 26 points and 10 boards for the Bobcats. Full Recap
Playoff Push - Over the last few years, when these two teams met this late in the season it had no impact on the postseason picture. But, that has changed this year as both the Wizards and Bobcats are positioned to make the playoffs. The Wizards magic number is down to one, which means one more win or one more Knicks loss will see the Wizards clinch their first playoff berth since 2008. The Bobcats have a 4.5 game lead on the Knicks with just nine games left on the season and are hopeful to clinch their playoff spot in the next week.
While both teams should end up in the playoffs, seeding is still up for grabs and tonight's game could play a big factor in that race. While the Wizards could still finish as high as the three seed, they are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and have a three game lead over Charlotte. A win tonight would extend that lead to four with eight games left, a much more comfortable margin than if the Bobcats were to win and shrink the lead to two. The two teams will meet again on April 9th at Verizon Center.
Shutting Down Big Al - The first time these two teams met, Marcin Gortat held Al Jefferson to a season-low six points on 3/9 shooting. But in their next meeting, AJ went for 26p-10r and was a difference-maker on the low post. It is a task that Marcin Gortat will take personally and one that he welcomes.
Wizards - Marcin Gortat is averaging 15.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in 20 games since the All-Star break.
Bobcats - Al Jefferson has been on a tear over the last couple of months and is the Bobcats leading scorer and rebounder. Jefferson is averaging 22.8 points on .517 (60-116) shooting and 10.8 rebounds over the Bobcats last six games.
3-point shooting - The Wizards currently rank second in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.385). Washington has four players with at least 100 three-pointers made already this season, Trevor Ariza (166), Martell Webster (135), Bradley Beal (124) and John Wall (104).
The action kicks off at 7:00pm from Charlotte.
Wall and Walker have had some good battles over the last couple of years and now have their teams in position to make the playoffs. Walker is coming off a big game, in which he put up 24p-8r-5a in a loss to the Magic on Friday night. Wall leads the NBA in assists with 637 and was named to his first All-Star Game back in February. In their last battle, Walker finished with 16p-5a, while Wall went for 23p-4a, but it was the Bobcats that came out victorious. Both the Wizards and Bobcats have won on each others home floor this season.
Wall's 3-Point Play