Game Preview: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Bobcats (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

Nov 24, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Martell Webster (9) passes the ball as Charlotte Bobcats small forward Jeffery Taylor (44) defends during the second half at the Verizon Center. The Bobcats defeated the Wizards 108 – 106 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After losing three straight at home, the Wizards are back on the road tonight and will try to get back on the winning side against the much improved Charlotte Bobcats. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM.

Key Match Up:

Even though John Wall has emerged as the East’s best point guard this season, with injuries sidelining the likes of Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, Kemba Walker has also continued to improve despite having three different coaches heading into his third season in the NBA. Walker, like John Wall post-Nene trade, hasn’t been on a team with expectations since entering the league. After acquiring veteran big man Al Jefferson through free agency, the Charlotte Bobcats will compete for a playoff spot for the first time in a very long time and expectations have obviously increased. With that said, Kemba Walker is also expected to improve and he hasn’t disappointed this season. The former Husky is averaging over 18 points and nearly 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game this season, and he’ll certainly be in the All-Star conversation in the East.

John Wall has always struggled against the Bobcats for some reason, but tonight will be an even greater challenge considering the improvement Charlotte has made this season. The Bobcats have a top-5 defense in the NBA, which is credited to new coach Steve Clifford, but they’ve also added some new offensive weapons to increase the team’s competitiveness. Wall has been inconsistent defensively this season, but he has shown flashes of his potential on that side of the floor. Kemba Walker has lit the Wizards up in the past, so John Wall has to force Walker into tough perimeter shots tonight. If Wall allows Walker to penetrate, it will open up opportunities for Al Jefferson, who has also been prone to torching the Wizards.

Notes:

  • Like Washington, the Bobcats have also struggled at home this season. They have 8 wins and 10 losses at home.
  • Though a vastly improved defensive team, the Bobcats still struggle on the offensive side of the floor. They’re 27th in points per game and assists per game.
  • Bradley Beal has averaged under 12 points per game in the last 5 games. Let’s hope he could turn it around tonight.
  • Both Charlotte and Washington are in the Southeast Division, so this game will be important for playoff seeding. Charlotte has lost 4 of their last 5 games, including a 30 point blowout to the Portland Trailblazers, so they’ll certainly be ready for tonight’s game against Washington.

Prediction:

The Bobcats remind me a bit of last year’s Wizards team, considering how well they’ve been defensively but still struggle to find offense at times. Washington has more talent than the Bobcats, but they’ve obviously still managed to lose some very winnable games this season. Charlotte’s addition of Al Jefferson has improved their team drastically, but they’ve also struggled lately and they’ll have to find a way to win games at this point in the season if they want to remain in playoff contention.

I think the Wizards will pull out the win tonight. They played a very good first half against the Golden State Warriors and judging from their post-game comments, the team realizes that they need to pick it up fast if they want to regain a .500 record heading into the All-Star break. Both teams are desperately searching for a victory, but I have to give the edge to John Wall and Co. I think they’ll sneak out of Charlotte with a win.

Topics: Al Jefferson, Bobcats Wizards Preview, John Wall, John Wall Vs Kemba Walker, Kemba Walker, Nba Game Preview, Washington Wizards, Wizards Bobcats

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