John Wall returned, Bradley Beal set a record and the Washington Wizards now have a chance for a winning road trip when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. After missing a trip-opening loss at Toronto due to a sore knee, Wall had 15 points and six assists in Monday’s 99-88 win at Milwaukee, while Beal buried a pair of 3-pointers to become the fastest player in NBA history to 700.
Washington, playing the second half of a back-to-back for the first time this season, turned up the defensive pressure to snap a two-game slide. “Defensively, we locked into the game plan,” coach Scott Brooks told the media. “We were aggressive, we were physical. We played with an IQ. We made them take the shots that we wanted them to take.” The Wizards will try to maintain that approach against a Hornets squad that averaged 113.3 points over its last three games, including two straight wins to begin a three-game homestand. Charlotte will aim for a perfect stay at the Spectrum Centre behind veteran center Dwight Howard, who is averaging 20.5 points and 18 boards on the homestand.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington Plus, FS Southeast (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (10-7): Otto Porter Jr. also came into the Milwaukee game a bit banged up with a sore wrist, but he was still able to produce a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) to go along with four assists and three steals. Marcin Gortat recorded his third consecutive double-double with 10 points and 15 boards, and Wall had no issues in a 31-minute effort. “I was great. I was cool,” Wall told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “I missed some easy, early shots but I was fine.”
ABOUT THE HORNETS (7-9): Howard is 15-for-20 from the floor on the homestand and had a rare positive effort from the line (9-for-14) in the Monday’s 118-102 victory over Minnesota. “I guess it works,” Howard told reporters of his effort to think about other things when on the line. “I just stay away from my own brain.” Frank Kaminsky made 1-of-8 3-pointers over his previous three games before hitting 4-of-5 against the Timberwolves en route to a season-high 24 points.
1. Hornets PG Kemba Walker is averaging 23.9 points while making 50 percent of his 3-pointers in eight home games.
2. Wizards F Kelly Oubre Jr. hit 5-of-8 from long range while averaging 14 points in 19.5 minutes over the last two contests.
3. Wall averaged 22.8 points and 9.5 assists as Washington won three of four meetings last season.
PREDICTION: Hornets 108, Wizards 105