National Basketball Association
Preview
Charlotte at Washington
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, March 27, 2015
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

With their backs against the wall, the Charlotte Hornets visit the equally-struggling Washington Wizards on Friday. The Hornets, who are in a four-way fight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, have lost seven of nine and face a tough road ahead with two games left against both Atlanta and Toronto and another game against Houston. "That's fine, if we are going to play our way in we're going to have to earn it, “Hornets coach Steve Clifford told reporters.

The Wizards, trying to catch Toronto for the fourth spot in the East, have lost four straight and are 9-17 after starting the season 31-15. John Wall scored 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter against Indiana on Wednesday, but Washington blew a 10-point lead in a 103-101 loss. "If we keep lapsing and doing these types of things, we will have an early exit from the playoffs," Wall told reporters afterward.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)

ABOUT THE HORNETS (30-40): Al Jefferson had 23 points and 10 rebounds in Charlotte’s latest setback, 91-88 to Brooklyn on Wednesday, but Clifford conceded after the game that his big man is not anywhere near 100 percent because of a balky right knee. "He's very competitive and you are never going to question his courage," Clifford told reporters. "But let's face it, he hasn't been healthy all year. Every time he gets close to 100 percent he has a setback. He battles but doesn't have his quickness and agility.” Charlotte, which is in a pack of four teams along with Brooklyn, Boston and Indiana, goes home for three after this one, including a contest with Boston, and the Hornets also play Indiana and Miami down the stretch.

ABOUT THE WIZARDS (40-32): Washington is playing the second of five straight home games - with four teams possessing losing records - and are two games back of Toronto for the fourth spot in the East. Guard Bradley Beal, who has missed 18 games with an assortment of injuries this season, left the Indiana game in the first quarter with a right ankle sprain and did not return. "Brad goes down; we have to have some of our other guys step up,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman told reporters. "Sugarcoat it all you want, we have to have other guys step up and play.’’

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Washington beat Charlotte 95-69 on March 9, holding the Hornets to 32.5 shooting and snapping a five-game skid in the series, including two this season.

2. Wizards C Marcin Gortat scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting against the Pacers after combining for just 29 points in his previous four games.

3. Hornets G Gerald Henderson is averaging 16 points on 54.5 percent shooting against the Wizards this season, while Wall is averaging 15.3 points and 10.2 assists against Charlotte.

PREDICTION: Wizards 97, Hornets 91
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Charlotte 30-40 L2 16-19 14-21 2-1 28-39 7-5 22-19
Washington 40-32 L4 25-11 15-21 2-5 38-27 8-6 25-19
Last Meeting
Charlotte Washington
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/9/15 WAS 95 CHAR 69 69 37 32.5 95 49 51.8
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Charlotte M. Williams 19 33.3 6
Washington M. Gortat 20 81.8 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Charlotte B. Biyombo 9 2 7
Washington M. Gortat 7 2 5
Assists Player  
Charlotte M. Williams 7
Washington J. Wall 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Charlotte A. Jefferson 1120 47.3 116
Washington J. Wall 1338 44.7 285
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Charlotte A. Jefferson 570 102 468
Washington M. Gortat 677 166 511
Assists Player  
Charlotte K. Walker 285
Washington J. Wall 731
Quickchart Matchup
Charlotte Off vs  Washington Defense
94.6 Points For
97.7 Points Against
42.3 FG%
43.7 FG%
44.2 Reb
41.3 Reb
Washington Off vs  Charlotte Defense
98.2 Points For
96.9 Points Against
46.4 FG%
44.0 FG%
41.3 Reb
43.6 Reb