The tides appear to have shifted ever so slightly out of Washington’s favor as of late, with the Wizards losing in three of their last four match-ups. An odd occurrence considering the team put up a five-game winning streak just before this troubling stretch.
Their latest loss came on the road only two nights ago, at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets. It was Nic Batum’s first game back with the team following a two-game absence due to a migraine, and the newly re-bolstered Charlotte squad was more eager to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Cody Zeller led the Hornets in scoring with 19 points, while shooting 8-10 from the field. He also took-away an impressive 4 steals. The Hornets were led in assists by Kemba Walker, with 6 dimes; rebounds by Batum, with 10 boards; and blocks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, with 4 rejections.
In his return, Batum put up 8 points and 5 assists to go along with his team-leading 10 rebounds.
The Wizards struggled mightily to get good shots off all night, only managing to shoot 36.7 percent from the field as a team. (That’s really, really bad.) Of the nine players who even attempted a shot for Washington, only Kelly Oubre Jr. converted at .500 or better. He shot 2-3. Even still, that didn’t really do much to stop John Wall from racking up a solid amount of assists, with a team-high of 8.
Wall also led the Wizards in points (19), while Marcin Gortat led them in rebounds (16).
Next up for the Wizards is a match-up against the Boston Celtics, Monday night at TD Garden.
This will be an interesting battle between two of the top-three seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. But it will be much more than just that. It should be known that these two teams don’t like each other. And I mean really don’t like each other.
In their Nov. 9 victory, John Wall was ejected when he was assessed a Flagrant-2 on video review due to contact he made with Marcus Smart. Then there was Boston’s Jan. 11 win, when almost immediately after the game Wall got into a bit of a scuffle with Jae Crowder. The two were talking, then arguing, then Crowder put his finger in Wall’s face and Wall responded by slapping Crowder in his face. (There were five technicals assessed due to that incident.)
Then, of course, there was their game on Jan. 24. When the entire Wizards roster walked into the Verizon Center wearing all-black, funeral-themed clothing. They went on to win that game, 123-108.
It’s kind of weird to think of this being the most competitive rivalry in the NBA right now because their beef began at the start of the season, but you have to admit, the pettiness is what everyone loves about sports.
The Celtics will be looking to even up their season series with Washington at 2-2, and will also be looking to get their five-game home stretch off to a good start with a victory over another top-contender in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards on the other hand, will be looking to right the ship and regain lost ground in order to become the second-seeded team in the East.
Both teams will be to earn an advantage in this heated rivalry. But there can only be one victor, so you’ll have to tune-in to see who does.
Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.