Charlotte At Washington
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
The battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference takes a head-to-head turn on Wednesday when the Washington Wizards host the Charlotte Bobcats. The Wizards are trying to hold off the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 5 spot in the East while the Bobcats sit in seventh and would like to move up to avoid a first-round date with Miami or Indiana. Washington has won eight of 10 but is coming off a loss at Miami on Monday.
Charlotte has won three of its last four games - including a win over Indiana - and is surging behind Al Jefferson. The veteran center is averaging 28 points and 10.2 rebounds in six games this month and will do battle with Wizards big man Marcin Gortat, who tied a career high with 18 rebounds on Monday. Jefferson grabbed 10 rebounds while going up against Gortat and Washington on Jan. 7 but matched a season low with six points on 3-of-9 shooting in 35 minutes as the Bobcats fell 97-83.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (30-34): Charlotte worked its way into the top eight in the East on the strength of its team defense but has improved enough offensively to get over 100 points in each of its last three wins. Jefferson posted 26 points and 13 boards in a 105-98 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday that pushed the Bobcats’ home winning streak to seven games, but the road has not been as kind. Charlotte lost at Memphis on Saturday to extend its road slide to four games and will play three of the next five away from home, including trips to the teams directly above them in the standings - Washington and Brooklyn.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (33-30): Washington has only defeated two current playoff teams among its last eight wins - Atlanta and Toronto - and is looking to prove that it belongs among the contenders. The Wizards were leading the Heat midway through the fourth quarter on Monday before absorbing a 99-90 setback as All-Star John Wall committed as many turnovers (seven) as he had points scored. “We played the right way of moving the ball and trying to get the right shots,” Wall told the Washington Post. “We got careless turnovers. We started the game missing some chippies, but I like the way we played and the way we fought.”
1. Washington F Drew Gooden has scored in double figures off the bench in each of the last three games and is expected to earn a second 10-day contract.
2. Charlotte G Gerald Henderson (calf) could return from a five-game absence on Wednesday.
3. Wall scored 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting in the Jan. 7 meeting while Gortat went for 18 points and 13 boards.
PREDICTION: Wizards 96, Bobcats 92
Stats and Records
Washington Off vs
100.7 Points For
97.4 Points Against