Charlotte Hornets (24-33) at Washington Wizards (33-24)
NBA: Friday, February 23, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. ET
The Charlotte Hornets hit the road to take on the Washington Wizards for a Friday night contest. Charlotte has won both meetings against Washington this season. In their most recent meeting on Jan. 17, the Hornets beat the Wizards 133-109. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets with 21 points in 23 minutes. Charlotte has lost four of their last five games. The Hornets are 14th in scoring (106 ppg), and 17th in defense (106.6 ppg). Kemba Walker leads the team as he is putting up 22.9 points and 5.8 assists. Washington has won seven of their last nine games. The Wizards are 10th in the league in scoring (107.4 ppg), and 15th in points allowed (105.5 ppg). Bradley Beal leads Washington as he is averaging 23.6 points and 4.2 assists.
Hornets struggling to defend
When the Hornets acquired Dwight Howard in the offseason many people believed they’d improve defensively. Howard is playing his most inspired basketball in some time. The center is averaging 15.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. Over the last few weeks, the Hornets have been abysmal on defense. Charlotte has allowed at least 105 points in eight of their last nine games. As a result, the team has gone 4-5 in that stretch. It’s hard to point much blame on Howard who is in his 14th season. Players like Marvin Williams, and Nicolas Batum have to do play to their capability on that end. Walker isn’t a defensive stopper but must provide more effort on that end. If the Hornets don’t tighten things up, they will miss the playoffs once again.
Wizards playing well without Wall
The good news for the Wizards is that John Wall is no longer on crutches. Washington has won seven of nine games without Wall. The biggest reason the Wizards have been successful has been the play of Otto Porter Jr. and Tomas Satoransky. Porter Jr. is averaging 18.3 points and 6.6 rebounds over the last 10 games. The wing appears to be more confident on the offensive end alongside Beal. Porter is shooting a scorching 52 percent from the field. Satoransky has played as well as Washington can ask for without Wall. The 6’7 guard is averaging 10.5 points and 5.4 assists in his last 10 games. The impressive part is that he is shooting 56 percent from the field in that stretch. Sataronsky’s value lies on defense where he can defend three spots. Look for the pair to continue to excel while Wall is out.
The Charlotte Hornets are:
- 3-7-3 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games.
The Washington Wizards are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Charlotte has the edge with Walker at point and with Howard but it won’t be enough. Even when Wall out, the Wizards offense is explosive enough to top a poor road team in Charlotte (9-18).