Mar 31, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) looks to shoot the ball over Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo (0) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Bobcats vs. Wizards preview: Battle for NBA Playoff Positioning


The Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats meet tonight in a crucial matchup that could be the deciding factor in who obtains the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The game will tip-off at 7:00 PM ET at Verizon Center. Washington leads Charlotte by one game in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Key Match Up:

John Wall vs. Kemba Walker is always an interesting match up. This match up has some extra motivation for Wall, whose Kentucky Wildcats lost in the National Championship to Walker’s Connecticut Huskies. So not only does Wall want to avenge last weeks loss to Charlotte, where he played one of his worst games of the season, but I’m sure he would like to avenge Kentucky’s loss and defeat the former NCAA Champ, Walker. In the game last week, Walker shot just 6-22 from the field, but was a team-high +16 while he was on the court. Wall, on the other hand, shot 4-16 and was a team-worst -24. Small guards always give Wall fits, especially in the pick and roll. Wall will need to stick with Walker and force him to take contested jump shots, instead of allowing him into the lane where he can cause havoc scoring or finding teammates.

Notes:

  • The Bobcats come into the game riding a four-game win streak.
  • The Wizards are coming off an embarrassing loss at home against the Chicago Bulls.
  • Charlotte is 2-1 against the Wizards this season, including a 98-85 win in Washington D.C. March 12.
  • Washington can extend their lead on Charlotte to two games with a win.
  • Charlotte can swap spots with Washington and take over the sixth seed with a win.
  • Nene practiced earlier this week, and is expected to play tonight on a minutes restriction.
  • Both teams have been off since Saturday.

Prediction:

This is the most important game of the season for both teams and the best players have to show up. Marcin Gortat will have his hands full again with Al Jefferson and Trevor Ariza will have to defend Gerald Henderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts, both of whom have torched the Wizards in the past. Bradley Beal will need to continue his hot shooting–over 50% from the field in the past five games, without settling for the mid-range jumper. Charlotte shot 21 more free throws (34) than Washington (13) in a six-point win March 31. The Wizards need to be more aggressive and attack the basket rather than settle for outside shots.

If the Wizards can win, they give themselves a great chance to finish sixth and an outside shot at finishing fifth in the East.

I’m looking for John Wall to bounce back and have a great game in what is the biggest game of his career (so far). I’ll take the Wizards to come out on top tonight in a revenge game against Charlotte.

Tags: John Wall Kemba Walker Nba Preview Washington Wizards Wizards Vs. Bobcats