Over the last two games, the Wizards had been outscored in the third quarter 70-31 by Toronto and Golden State. So when the Wizards went into the half tonight up by four, it was clear there needed to be a different script than the last two games. And a different script there was. The Wizards opened the half on a 21-4 run and despite a bump or two in the road, cruised to victory over Charlotte, 97-83. At one point during the Wizards third quarter run they hit eight shots in a row and held the Bobcats scoreless for about six minutes. The Bobcats cut it to seven in the fourth quarter but got no closer than that.
With the Wizards having lost three in a row at home to start the year, it was no secret they desperately needed a win tonight. The defensive effort that the team put in showed that, especially the work done on Al Jefferson. Jefferson, who averages over 17 a game, was held to just six points in the contest. The Bobcats in general were held to 43% shooting. The Wizards on the other hand shot over 47% from the field and were especially hot in the fourth quarter when they needed to close the game out, scoring 31 of their 97 points. Bradley Beal bounced back from a couple of tough games to score 21 points on 10/18 shooting and was a team leading +24. Marcin Gortat, along with playing fantastic D on Jefferson, had a big double-double with 18 points and 13 boards. Trevor Booker did the heavy lifting in the crucial third quarter, scoring 8 of his 12 points. Wall and Webster were also in double figures, scoring 17 and 10 respectively. Wall also had eight assists against zero turnovers. Gerald Henderson, a noted Wizard killer, did the damage for Charlotte, leading all scorers with 27. - Jacob Raim
We're settling in here at the TWC Arena in Charlotte and ready for this #WizBobcats game to get rolling.
A cool scene took place courtside as about 75 kids from the Polish School of Charlotte were on hand to greet Poland's seven foot export and Wizards' center, Marcin Gortat. Before going through his pregame warmups, he took pictures with all of the kids and even though I'm not fluent in Polish, it appeared that he told them he would do autographs after the game.
The kids are now performing pregame entertainment on the floor, so it looks like they will play a big role in tonight's in-game entertainment.
As for the game itself, this one should be another entertaining battle between two teams in similar spots in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have hopes to go from the lottery to the playoffs in 2014 and tonight will be the first of four games they play this season.
Randy Wittman talked pregame about the importance of being physical tonight and not letting Al Jefferson have his way in the paint (sorry there's no video tonight, internet issues here in Charlotte).
Jefferson is the Cats' most potent post presence, but it's Kemba Walker who may be their most dynamic offensive player. The third year guard out of UCONN went off for 30 points on Saturday night and always has the ability to take over a game. He and John Wall can get into some pretty intense battles, so keep an eye on their matchup tonight.
The Wizards have won four of their last five on the road and will look to open up this road trip with a win here in Charlotte.
We'll be live chatting tonight from the arena starting around 7pm. We'll see you there.
We begin the week here in Charlotte, where the Wizards look to get back to their winning ways. Just a week ago, the team was coming off a big home-and-home sweep of the Pistons and were back at .500. But, after a three game losing streak at home, they now need to regain their composure and tally another winning road trip.
This is one of those rare times where a road trip may have been necessary. After all, the team has won four of its last five on the road, while dropping six of seven at home. Sometimes these kind of trips can bring a team closer together and let the players refocus during a tough stretch. The NBA season is long and grueling and there are always going to be ups and downs. The Wizards have shown that they are capable of playing well and can win games, now they need to do it consistently.
After the game tonight, we head to New Orleans for #WizPelicans tomorrow night and then finish the week in Indianapolis for #WizPacers Friday night. This will be a difficult trip, but a good chance for the team to continue to show that they are capable of winning games on the road.
The Bobcats are a team built on defense. They are 3rd in the NBA in points allowed (95.8) and with new head coach Steve Clifford in town they have made their identity on the defensive side of the ball. After being a lottery team for the last three years, they are making strides to becoming a playoff team in the east. At 15-20, they currently sit in 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bobcats have upgraded their roster from a year ago, most notably adding big Al Jefferson via free agency. He has given them a legitimate post threat and is always one of the toughest post players to defend in the league. He's coming off a season-high 27 point effort on 11/21 shooting in a win over the Kings on Saturday. He'll start the game at center and likely deal with Marcin Gortat on the block, but could see a few different Wizards' bigs defend him throughout the game.
One constant for the Cats has been the stellar play of their point guard Kemba Walker. Now in his third season, he's become the leader of the team and is the one guy who is capable of taking over a game at any time. He leads the Bobcats in both scoring at 18.4 ppg and assists at 4.6 apg. He and John Wall have had some good battles over the years and tonight should be no different.
As for the Wizards, they need to get back to playing the right way. They've been within one possession at the half in the last two games, but the third quarter has done them in. They have been outscored 70-31 in the last two third quarters. That should be on the front of their minds when they come out of the halftime locker room tonight and fuel them to bring energy and focus into the second half.
We'll be back with more during pregame. The action kicks off at 7pm tonight from the TWC Arena in downtown Charlotte.