Hornets Begin Critical Two-Game Road Stretch in D.C.
By Sam Perley
Time is running out for the Charlotte Hornets’ playoff push as they’ll look to get things moving in the right direction with tonight’s season-series finale against the Washington Wizards beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Charlotte leads this year’s head-to-head showdowns, 2-1, with the home team having won all three meetings so far. The Hornets squeaked out a 112-111 victory one week ago at Spectrum Center thanks in large part to a season-high 30 points from Marvin Williams. They also held two-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal to just 15 points on 4-of-21 shooting after he had 46 points against Charlotte back on Feb. 22.
Frank Kaminsky continues to look very solid since reemerging into the Charlotte rotation two weeks ago as he’s currently ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference in bench scoring this month at 14.7 PPG (mini. 5 GP). The Wisconsin product is also chipping in 4.8 RPG and 1.3 APG during this span and has been a major reason for the bench’s improved production since the start of March.
The fourth-year seven-footer will be paired up with another surging reserve in Jabari Parker, who looks to have been rejuvenated following last month’s trade from Chicago to Washington. The former second overall pick is averaging 17.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 2.6 APG in seven games this month, while shooting 65.0 percent and 43.5 percent from the field and three, respectively.
Washington is currently 10 games under .500 and sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games back of Miami for the final playoff spot. This is a matchup the Hornets simply need to have and in order to do so, they’ll need to keep throwing bodies defensively at big-time Washington scorers like Beal, Parker and Bobby Portis.
Game Note – Charlotte is 2-1 this season with 3+ days in between games… Washington has won four straight games at home… The statuses of Cody Zeller (left knee soreness), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (left knee strain) and Nic Batum (right eye abrasion) are TBD as of Thursday morning… Sam Dekker (back) did not play for Washington in Wednesday night’s win over Orlando.
Classic Fact – The first points of the Bobcats expansion era were scored by Primož Brezec on Nov. 4, 2004 against the Washington Wizards. Brevin Knight had the first assist, Emeka Okafor had the first rebound and Steve Smith hit the first three-pointer, which took place in the first quarter and was also the team’s only such make of the game (1-of-8).