Friday's game: Wizards-Hornets preview

Friday's game: Wizards-Hornets preview
March 14, 2013, 10:00 pm
Share This Post

Greivis Vazquez returns to D.C. to face the Wizards

Wizards vs. Hornets

at Verizon Center

TV: CSN, 7 p.m. ET

Season series: Wizards lead 1-0.

Last meeting: The Wizards won 77-70 on Dec. 11 in New Orleans. Jordan Crawford, who was traded to the Boston Celtics last month, led with 26 points. It wasn't pretty. The Wizards only generated 10 points from starting C Emeka Okafor, PF Chris Singleton and SF Martell Webster. Both teams shot less than 33% from the field.

Previous game: Wizards (21-42) beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106-93 on Wednesday; Hornets (22-43) lost to the Brooklyn Nets 108-98 on Tuesday.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Garrett Temple, SF Martell Webster, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor. Hornets –- PG Greivis Vasquez, SG Eric Gordon, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, PF Anthony Davis, C Robin Lopez.

Pivotal matchup: Nene vs. Davis. The length of Bucks shot-blocker C Larry Sanders gave Nene trouble vs. Milwaukee, so he became a passer and tied a season high with six assists. At 6-10, Davis is long and a defensive specialist who is starting to put up better numbers offensively. He has four double-doubles in his last five games. Nene will have an advantage in physical strength and should be able to use his body to create space inside, but it won't be easy.  When these teams met the first time, Nene wasn't starting as he was rounding into form after a foot injury delayed his season debut. In 20 minutes, he had 10 points and 10 rebounds. A rookie, Davis still was coming off the bench at the time, played 25 minutes and posted 13 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks. 

Terp sighting: Vasquez is having the best season of his career, averaging 14 points and 9.4 assists per game for New Orleans. Originally drafted in 2010 from Maryland by the Memphis Grizzlies, he was traded to to the Hornets where he played behind Jarrett Jack last season. Jack, a Fort Washington, Md. native, now plays for the Golden State Warriors. Vasquez has started all 65 games. 

Trending upward: The turnovers have decreased as the Wizards have gotten better at protecting the ball in the fourth quarter. The starting five combined for six of their 13 in their last game. Even in a 95-90 road loss to the Cavaliers before that they only had 14. Much of that has to do with how Wall is running the offense. And Wall's shooting has gotten better, too. He's making 47.1% in March, including two three-pointers. He only has three for the season. 

Trending downward: The health of the roster keeps dipping. With SG Bradley Beal (left anke sprain) already having missed five consecutive games, backup PG A.J. Price sat with a groin injury. That has left the Wizards with only two healthy guards in Wall and Temple. Both played more than 40 minutes and are entering a second set of back-to-backs. 

He said it: “Treat it like it’s a regular game. Just go out and play. Not really worry about your individual thing.” –- Ariza, who will play vs. New Orleans for the first time since being traded to Washington.