202

Wizards host Hornets in pivotal matchup between playoff hopefuls

Washington Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky, right, drives into Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

After an important win over the Magic Wednesday, the Wizards continue their homestand against another team fighting for a playoff spot, the Charlotte Hornets. Here’s everything you need to know about the game:

Wizards vs. Hornets

Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m.

How to watch: NBCSW, MyTeams

What to watch for

1. Staying Alive: The Wizards sit in 11th place and 3.5 games outside of the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, currently held by the Heat. Charlotte is in a similar position.

2. Need for Speed: Since acquiring Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis from the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards have been flying down the court. In the 14 games since the trade, Washington has increased its pace by about 1.6 possessions per game, around five possessions faster than they played last season.

3. Opponent to Watch: Kemba Walker. Like the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, Walker is the lone All-Star on a team gunning for a playoff spot. And the UConn product is thriving in the role, averaging a career high in points (25.1).

Quote of the day

“You have to always evolve and think of ways to score and play. I like how we’re playing offense,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said about his team’s high-speed attack with Parker and Portis. “There’s only a few times in games where the ball becomes sticky and a guy doesn’t make the extra pass. It’s very rare now. It used to be where we were going to have some interesting film sessions the next morning. But now, very rarely do I even think that during a game.”

Last time these teams met

The Hornets defeated the Wizards 112-111 on March 8, Marvin Williams scoring 30 points and knocking down seven three-pointers to lead Charlotte to victory.

Stat to know

The Wizards’ bench outscored the Magic’s 59-20 Wednesday night. Washington could certainly use that type of contribution every night from the reserves as they enter the home stretch.

Listen to Wizards Talk, NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards podcast.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.