The Wizards will be looking to get their first win streak of the season going on Friday night, when they face off against the Charlotte Hornets. Tip off is at 7:00 pm at Capital One Arena. Washington is coming off of an impressive 138-132 victory against San Antonio on Wednesday night. The Hornets, sitting at 6-9 on the season, are just a half game ahead of Washington in the standings.
Charlotte’s season has already exceeded preseason expectations. Many expected them to be firmly at the bottom of the standings. The emergence of Devonte Graham and PJ Washington has been a large reason for their performance thus far. Graham, a Wooden Award finalist in 2018 at the University of Kansas, struggled to find playing time last season. However, he’s carved out a spot in the starting lineup and leads the Hornets in scoring at 18.2 PPG.
For the Wizards, the offense has continued to fire on all cylinders, and the defense… well, the defense is still on the poorer side. Scott Brooks continues to experiment with different defensive schemes and lineups. This is a welcome change from years past, when the Wizards would roll out the same looks and lineups every night. The defense should get better throughout the season, as the young guys continue to learn and the coaching staff fine tunes what works.
Key Matchup: Rui Hachimura vs PJ Washington
Rui Hachimura vs PJ Washington. These two rookies have impressed so far this season. However, foul trouble has plagued Hachimura in many games. On Wednesday night, he picked up two quick fouls, so we didn’t get a chance to see him matchup against Lamarcus Aldridge very often. PJ Washington has been a bit of a swiss army knife for Charlotte. He can score from anywhere on the floor, is shooting 47.9% from three, and is solid defensively for a rookie. If Rui can stay on the floor, this will be a fun matchup.
How the Wizards get a win
This matchup will provide an interesting clash of styles. The Wizards rank much higher in offensive efficiency and pace, whereas the Hornets are slightly better defensively. The Wizards should look to turn this game into a track meet, and see if Charlotte can keep up. Charlotte has scored over 120 points only twice this season. The Wizards have scored over 130 points in 3 of their last 4. If Washington can eclipse 130 again, it’s hard to see Charlotte keeping up.