National Basketball Association
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