Preview: Wizards seek sixth-straight win Wednesday vs. Hornets
Spectrum Center | 7 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: 106.7 FM & Wizards App
The Wizards take on the Hornets on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Spectrum Center. Washington arrives in Charlotte on a five-game winning streak and opening a road-road back-to-back. After taking on the Hornets, the Wizards will travel to Miami for a matchup with the Heat on Thursday night.
|G||Spencer Dinwiddie||LaMelo Ball|
|G||Bradley Beal||Terry Rozier|
|F||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Gordon Hayward|
|F||Kyle Kuzma||Miles Bridges|
|C||Daniel Gafford||Mason Plumlee|
WIZARDS: Davis Bertans (left ankle sprain – out), Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out)
HORNETS: Gordon Hayward (right hamstring discomfort – probable), P.J. Washington (left elbow hyperextension – out)
Beal back in the lineup
After missing the last two games following the passing of his grandmother, Bradley Beal will be back in the lineup on Wednesday night. The All-NBA guard will provide a boost for a deep Wizards team that has risen to the occasion in his absence, going 3-0 without their top scorer and vocal leader. In three games without Beal this season, Spencer Dinwiddie has taken control, averaging 28.3 points per game, commanding the Wizards to wins over the Pacers, Magic and Pelicans.
“We talked about it before the season,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said earlier this week. “At some points our bench, our depth, the wave of bodies that we can just keep playing is going to be a benefit to us…We never want to be without Brad. No one wants to be without their best player, but the fact that we can withstand some stretches is great.”
Beal returns against a Hornets team he’s been dominant against as of late. In his last six matchups with Charlotte, Beal is averaging 29.3 points per game – and in the last two, he finished with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in each.
Wizards approach another milestone amid hot start
Through 13 games, the Wizards are off to their best start since the 1974-75 season when the team started the year 11-2. That team finished the season 60-22 and was first in the NBA Central Division before falling to the Warriors in the NBA Finals. With a win against Charlotte on Wednesday, Washington will tie that team’s 14-game start to the season for the best in franchise history. Still, the Wizards are keeping the early success in perspective.
“Records are made to be broken, I don’t know,” Unseld Jr. said with a laugh after the Wizards’ comeback win over the Pelicans on Monday. “It’s a good thing. It’s exciting. I think it’s a testament to this group, but we still have a lot of games to play. If in 25 games we’re still sitting here and there’s another benchmark, that’s great too. But it’s a long season. We want to stay the course and continue to put in the time, put in the work.”
Bridges, Ball set the tone for streaking Hornets
The Hornets are coming into Wednesday’s matchup on two days of rest and riding a three-game winning streak, most recently a 106-102 win over the league-best Warriors that snapped Golden State’s seven-game winning streak. Charlotte was led in that game by a trio of 20-point performances: Miles Bridges (22), LaMelo Ball (21) and Terry Rozier (20). Ball and Bridges have been pillars of Charlotte’s 8-7 start, combining for 40.8 points, 14.8 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game. Ball, who facilitates the offense from the point guard position, has also managed to be the team’s most prolific rebounder as of late, pulling down seven-plus boards in each of his last five games, including 16- and 17-rebound nights against the Lakers and Knicks.
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